Sunday, April 9, 2017

Habits for Healthy Aging

Who doesn’t want to stop father time?  We can’t turn back the clock, but we can establish some habits that will keep us healthier as we age.  WebMD has some good advice in their article, The Secret to Healthy Aging.  They acknowledge there is no fountain of youth but establishing some healthy habits can make your life more enjoyable and extend your life span.  What tips do they offer?
     1. Keep Moving – keep exercising and stay physically active.  So many health benefits to exercise:  reducing heart disease risks, you sleep better, have a better memory, less depressed, stronger bones and you are less likely to fall when you are older. 
       2. What kind of exercise?
  • Aerobic or Cardio is a good way to strengthen your heart and to get fit.   But one doesn’t have to go to the gym to get some aerobic exercise.  Walk at a faster pace, go for a bike ride or ride a stationary bike when watching TV.  Spring and summer are great times to be outside, mow the lawn, wash the car, put down new mulch, gardening is a great way to be active and get  some fresh air. 
  • Strength training – so good for toning up for summer.  One doesn’t need to lift huge amounts of weights to get toned and build some muscle.  Light weights from the Dollar store will work.  Or do some sit ups, push ups, basic exercises at home.  Go to Verywell at Beginner's Guide to Strength Training for some ideas on how to get started.  I go to the gym, for strength training 2 days a week.  5 machines for upper body toning and 5 machines for legs and lower body. 
      3. Focus on the Mediterranean Diet – not to lose weight but to eat healthier and live longer.  This is not a “diet” but a way of eating every day.  It focuses on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and healthy fats like Olive Oil.  U.S. News & World Report ranks this diet as one of the healthiest diets to follow to promote good health and fitness.   Read more about the Mediterranean Diet to learn about how to eat healthier by adding herbs and spices to your diet, eating more fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and leaner protein.  Even if you can’t follow all aspects of this eating pattern, try changing something.  For example, focus on eating a handful of nuts a day.  Eat a banana every day at breakfast.  Pack some baby carrots in your lunch every day.  Make at least some aspects of this healthy “diet” a pattern of eating.

4.   Healthy Fats – Choose olive oil, canola oil for cooking and for making salad dressing.

5.   Fish – aim for fish twice a week.  If you are not a “fish” lover, then find some way you can incorporate more fish in your week.  We make tuna fish salad sandwiches as a way to get some fish in our week
 6. Veggies – no, not French Fries, but some fresh or steamed veggies.  Skip the frying and try them steamed or cook them in the microwave.  More broccoli, kale, spinach, carrots and tomatoes add not only vitamins but many antioxidants – or anti-aging compounds to your day.  

With the weather warming up, it is a great time to be outside more and going to Farmer’s Markets to get stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables.     

Enjoy some buckwheat pancakes with fresh blueberries and lite syrup.

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