“Healthy aging” is the term for the normal process your body goes through over the years. But they key is to prevent “unhealthy aging” that results from poor health habits. So what can you do to help make sure you go through “healthy aging?”
Here are some everyday habits that may help you live to a healthy, long life:
Watch your Waist —
Your belt size is directly related to how long you’ll live. A waist measurement of more than 40 inches for a man of average height means he has a higher-than-average risk for a heart attack and diabetes. For a woman, a waist size over 35 inches puts her at greater risk for these diseases. Why is it so important? People with wider abdomens tend to have more fat internally in their organ system, which causes more pressure on your body and risk for damage.
This is important for heart health and flexibility. It may reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. But it doesn’t have to be intense activity. The Centers for Disease Control suggests you can add years to your life by doing moderate exercise for about two and a half hours a week. You can do this with a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, or you could stroll through a mall five days a week.
Be Happy —
People who are depressed, sad, or anxious are more likely to have major health problems than people who have a healthy outlook on life. Make a point to find some activity that brings happiness everyday, and get a full night of sleep. See our article: The Importance of Friends as you Age.
Healthy Eating —
Getting enough calcium into your system is important for bone health. As we get older, more calcium may leak out of your bones, putting you at risk for brittle bones that are more likely to break. In addition to calcium, make sure you’re getting enough fiber. Foods rich in fiber reduce your sugar load, and are important for diabetes prevention. See our article: Heart Health for Seniors
Regular Checkups —
You may not need a full checkup every year; but as we age, regular exams are even more important. Screenings for such cancers as breast, cervical, and colon can catch those cancers early—when they can be cured. Your primary care doctor can also check for high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
What Hurts Life Expectancy?
Many people are adopting healthier lifestyles these days. But medical professionals recognize this may be the first generation of children that may not live as long as their parents did. Why is this and what can be done? The single biggest reason for this trend is childhood obesity. According to a study from Wake Forest University, the rates of childhood obesity are now three times what they were 25 years ago.
As caregivers, parents, teachers, and friends, we need to provide help, education, and support for loved ones. It’s our job to help them adopt healthy lifestyles that promote a longer, healthier life.
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