National Healthy Aging Month |  Virginia Washington DC Healthcare

National Healthy Aging Month | Virginia Washington DC Healthcare

Take a step during National Healthy Aging Month to ensure your golden years remain golden.

September has been recognized as National Healthy Aging Month. While some factors that influence healthy aging are not under our control (such as genetics), others are easily accessible and within everyone’s reach.

A geriatrician at Washington DC Virginia Medical Center, Karen Blackstone, MD, studies centenarians, or people who live well beyond 100 years. Through her work, she has developed a practical list of tips that can help you stay healthy, live as independent as possible, and experience an excellent quality of life as you age.

“I invite you to make one small change today to take care of your physical, emotional and mental health so you can live a long and happy life,” Blackstone said.

The following tips are backed by scientific observations and research backed by the National Institute on Aging:

  • Eat and drink healthily. Nutritional needs may change as you age. A healthy eating plan includes nutritious foods that are low in cholesterol, fat, and artificial ingredients. You should also drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to stay hydrated. Eat nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Move more, sit less. Staying active can help you prevent, delay, and manage chronic disease, improve balance and endurance, reduce the risk of falls, and improve brain health. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, such as walking (22-30 minutes per day) and muscle-strengthening activities, such as carrying groceries, at least two days per week. Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
  • Enjoy a hobby. Your favorite activities are not only fun – they may also be beneficial to your health. Research shows that people who participate in hobbies, social and recreational activities, and even pet ownership, have better cognitive and physical function.
  • Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption. Like all adults, older adults should avoid or limit alcohol consumption. In fact, aging can lead to social and physical changes that make older adults more susceptible to alcohol abuse and misuse and more susceptible to the consequences of alcohol. Alcoholism or heavy drinking affects every organ in the body, including the brain.
  • Quit Smoking. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking, research confirms that even if you’re 60 or older and have been smoking for decades, quitting will improve your health. Quitting smoking at any age will reduce your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and lung disease, improve circulation, improve your sense of taste and smell, increase your ability to exercise, and set a healthy example for others.
  • Get regular checkups. It is essential to go to the doctor for regular health check-ups for healthy aging. Regular checkups help doctors detect chronic diseases early and can help patients reduce disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In some cases, regular checkups have been linked to improved quality of life and a sense of well-being.
  • Be aware of changes in emotional and cognitive health. Everyone’s brain changes as they age, but mental illness And depression are not normal parts of aging. See your doctor if you have questions about your memory or brain health.

Dr. Blackstone recommends talking to your doctor early and often to understand what steps are most appropriate for you to improve aging health.

“Having a healthy lifestyle that supports your body, mind and emotions will directly impact your ability to enjoy life well into your golden years,” she said.

Find more ways Increase your exercise and improve your health From the National Institute on Aging.

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