It’s been over a decade since Carolyn Worthington, publisher of Healthy Aging® Magazine, created the “September is Healthy Aging® Month” initiative. Carolyn’s intent for this month is to focus on the positive aspects of aging and doing all we can to maintain our quality of life. Our attitudes and behaviors can be very influential in creating our reality, so here are some ideas on how to sustain our best health:
- Social Activity. Social isolation can lead to depression and dementia. You don’t have to join every social group or attend every event, but be sure to participate in some activities that you enjoy and that connect you with others.
- Diet. It is well-documented that a healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean Diet which reduces meat intake and focuses on fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, nuts, and olive oil) can not only prevent physical issues like heart disease, but can give us more energy and vitality.
- Genes. While we can’t change our genetic predisposition to certain disease processes, we can take action to reduce the risk that those genes become activated. Knowing that high cholesterol or diabetes run in your family, you can ensure that your diet is low in animal fats and simple carbohydrates (sugar). Get tested regularly so you can catch any changes early.
- Productive Pursuits. Humans have an inborn need for meaning in their lives, beyond the day-to-day routine of existence. People are much happier if they are involved in activities they find meaningful. Explore what brings meaning to your life, and do some of that!
- Exercise. We hear about the need for strength, balance, endurance, and weight-bearing exercise everywhere we turn. We hear it everywhere because it’s THAT important to our health and functioning. 15 – 30 minutes daily of moderate aerobic activity, twice weekly strength training, plus balance and flexibility activities are recommended for a well-rounded exercise routine. Check with your healthcare provider about any restrictions or recommendations specific to your needs.
Marla LeFevre, RN
Director of Health Services