As we begin a new year, we find ourselves with resolutions. Promises and actions made to improve or change something or some action to improve ourselves. Leading experts from the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation compiled a list of the top 10 healthy resolutions for older adults. These actions will help to keep you healthy and happy in the New Year and for years to come:
Eat Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, Fish, Low-Fat Dairy and Healthy Fats: Eat at least five (5) servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Choose a variety and go for deep colors: dark green, bright yellow and orange choices like spinach, collard greens, carrots, oranges and cantaloupe. Fiber-rich whole grains: bread, rice and pasta. Less fatty meat: chicken, low fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Heart healthy fish, like tuna and salmon twice a week. Include sources of calcium and Vitamin D to keep your bones strong. Use healthier fats, such as olive and canola oils, instead of butter and lard.
Take a multivitamin: Check labels and choose a multivitamin that includes 100% of the “Daily Value” for most vitamins and minerals.
Exercise: Many conditions can actually improve with mild to moderate exercise. It can also help you to control your weight, build your muscles and bones and improve your balance, posture and mood. NOTE: If you’re planning to start exercising, or to exercise more, check with your health care provider first to plan an exercise program that’s right for you.
See your doctor regularly: You should have a complete physical at least once a year.
Toast with a smaller glass: Try to limit your alcohol consumption to a safe amount for older adults. Excessive drinking can make you feel depressed and can contribute to other health problems.
Guard against falls: Exercises such as walking or working out with an elastic exercise band can boost your strength, balance and flexibility, and help you avoid falls. Always bring your medications to your health provider so they can make sure you’re not taking any pills that can make you more likely to fall. Eliminate items in your home that are easy to trip over, like throw rugs.
Give your brain a workout: The more you use your mind, the better it will work. Read. Do crossword puzzles. Try Suduko. Socializing also gives the brain a boost, so join a bridge club or a discussion group at your local library or senior center. Or take a course at your local community college.
Quit smoking: Ask your health care provider for help, as well.
Speak up when you feel down: Lingering sadness, fatigue, a loss of appetite or pleasure doing things you once enjoyed, difficulty sleeping, worry, irritability and wanting to be alone can be signs of depression. Talk to your health care provider if you have these signs for more than two weeks and reach out to friends and family.
Get enough sleep: Older people need up to at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Avoid daytime naps that can keep you up in the evening.
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