Search the Healthy Living Web Site


Advanced Search

This Week's Discussion Topics

Home | Message Board | About Us | Alternative | Bookstore | Exercise | Health Issues | Gatherings | Member Photo Gallery | Newsletters | Nutrition | Our Stories | Recipes | Recommended Software | Resources | Weight Maintenance | Site Map | Contact Us
 


Healthy Living

Practical Steps to Healthy Aging

As the US population ages, there is risk of a growing number of the problems traditionally associated with "old age," including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. However, there is increasing evidence that a healthy lifestyle can prevent or delay many of the illnesses of aging.

Here are suggestions from the Johns Hopkins Medical Letter to help you do that:

  • Get some exercise - It slows the loss of muscle strength, maintains better heart and respiratory function, increases bone mass, and limits the risk of diabetes. An effective exercise routine includes endurance training (walking, jogging, cycling) and two or three strength training sessions a week.

  • Don't smoke - It's never too late to quit, which lowers the risk of stroke, cancer and emphysema. Five years after stopping, ex-smokers have about the same risk of developing heart disease as someone who never smoked.

  • Eat a healthy diet - Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables cuts the risk of colorectal cancer in half and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Switching to a low-fat diet can reduce total cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

  • Use supplements wisely - A standard multivitamin and a calcium supplement for women can help block deficiencies that are common in older people.

  • Drink enough water - Dehydration is common among older people, especially in warm weather. Experts recommend drinking 6 to 8 glasses of clear fluids daily.

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure - As we age, we lose protective pigment, leaving skin and eyes vulnerable to sun damage.

  • Reduce stress - Stress and anxiety impair our immune system, leaving us more susceptible to illness. Techniques such as meditation, yoga and exercise have been shown to help reduce stress.

  • Challenge your mind - Three key factors can help preserve mental function: strong social support, belief in your abilities and regular physical activity. Even with declines in short-term memory and reaction times, aging people can learn new skills and maintain old ones.

  • Limit alcohol consumption - Alcohol metabolism slows with age, so the effects are more pronounced in older adults. Still, drinking one glass of wine or spirits a day has been recommended and may provide some cardiovascular benefit.

  • Cultivate satisfying relationships - Positive social interaction, including sexual activity, lowers the level of stress hormones, helps preserve cognitive function and prevents depression.

  • Practice preventive medicine - Certain drugs can help prevent some medical problems associated with aging. Hormone replacement therapy can reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Drug therapy can lower blood pressure and high cholesterol. Low-dose aspirin is recommended for many adults to decrease the risk of heart disease

Copyright © 1998-2002 SLM & Healthy Living
All Rights Reserved

Back to Top


Home | Message Board | About Us | Alternative | Bookstore | Exercise | Health Issues | Gatherings | Member Photo Gallery | Newsletters | Nutrition | Our Stories | Recipes | Recommended Software | Resources | Weight Maintenance | Site Map | Contact Us