It is hard to believe that 2023 is half over! Now that everybody is settling into a summer routine, it is a great time to look at your health habits and set goals for the remainder of the year. The suggested links may be found at the end of the article.
Checklist For Healthy Aging – These 5 Will Keep You Alive!
- Evaluate Your Current Health Status. Being up to date on screening exams and knowing your screening numbers help you avoid or manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and unhealthy weight gain. Having a primary care doctor you trust to help monitor your overall health, address any concerns, and provide guidance on preventive measures is a key step in the right direction. If you haven’t had a physical exam in 2023, schedule one today. If you need help finding a doctor, check out these tips from the Department of Health and Human Services.[i]
- Exercise Often. Regular physical exercise counts more toward good health than nearly any other factor. A well-rounded exercise program should include strength (resistance), endurance (cardio), flexibility and balance exercises. We encourage people to work on being active every single day, though a minimum of 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) per week of aerobic activity is necessary for much health benefit. If you’re just starting out, visit the Harvard School of Public Health[ii] for some great tips!
- Eat an Abundance of Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Lean Proteins. Food can act as medicine. A diet rich in plant-based products reduces the risk of many chronic conditions including several types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes. We encourage people to use the healthy plate method[iii] endorsed by many public health organizations including the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and Harvard School of Public Health. It involves dividing your plate into quarters – one quarter for whole grains, one quarter for lean protein, and half for fruits and a lot of vegetables. Also work on minimizing your alcohol intake.
- Emotional Balance and Proper Sleep. Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is just as important as physical health. Emotional balance involves managing stress, cultivating positive relationships, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. For a nice overview of simple stress management techniques, check these out, courtesy of the University of Massachusetts[iv]. Equally important is getting enough high-quality sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to support optimal cognitive function, regulate mood, and strengthen the immune system. Sleep quality and duration can be improved with work. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine[v] is a great place to find suggestions for improving your sleep.
- Eliminate Tobacco Products. Tobacco is the enemy of health and healthy aging. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking, and most endure pain and suffering because of them. Do yourself a favor if you smoke or chew and put a quit plan together. For help getting started and to speak with a free quit specialist, visit the CDC website[vi].
Continue Reading July 2023 Newsletter: Summer Activities to Beat the Heat