THERE’S good news for older individuals who are concerned about their health and fitness. There are simple steps they can take to help them maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Experts say that as you age, it’s important to stick with healthy eating habits and get regular physical activity. That’s because staying at a healthy weight may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Regular physical activity may even help you ward off depression and keep bones and muscles healthy.
To help, here are some tips from the Weight-control Information Network (WIN).WIN is an information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Get the fuel you need
• Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Eat less white bread, rice and pasta made from refined grains. Avoid foods with added sugars or solid fats such as shortening and butter.
• Choose high-fiber foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, and vegetables with deep color, such as kale and sweet potatoes.
• Stay hydrated. You might feel less thirsty as you get older, but your body still needs fluid to stay healthy. Tea, water, low-fat milk and other unsweetened drinks may help.
Enjoy movement and physical activity
• Make physical activity part of your daily life. Take short walks throughout your day. If you use a walker or cane, or if walking is hard for you, talk to your doctor about activities that are safe for you to do.
• Raise and lower arms and legs for a number of counts to strengthen your muscles. You can even do this while seated.
• If you live in an assisted living or retirement facility, ask if the fitness center offers a free health checkup and fitness program.
Be good to yourself
• Get enough sleep.
• Join a walking group or other social group.
• Stay in touch with family and friends.
For more tips from WIN’s brochure “Young at Heart: Tips for Older Adults,” visit www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/young_heart.htm. For more information, visit www.win.niddk.nih.gov. North American Precis Syndicate