According to Dr. Samantha Shah of Samaritan Internal Medicine who specializes in Geriatrics, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and COPD are the most common health problems for people over the age of 70 which could have been prevented with a healthy lifestyle. But what exactly does a healthy lifestyle look like?
Most of us are aware that exercise and nutrition are important, but we sometimes don’t know where to start. Luckily, there are ways that we can keep ourselves feeling young, even as we journey into old age.
Shah says there are certain commonalities among her patients who have stayed healthy well into their golden years. “The patients that tend to do best,” she wrote in an email interview for the Advocate, “are those that have a youthful attitude towards life, stay active with exercise, [do] volunteer activities and engage in practices that stimulate the brain.” She says this can include staying active in hobbies like listening to or performing music, reading books, volunteering or traveling.
As far as advice goes for younger people, Shah writes “Start healthy habits now regarding diet and exercise and start charting your course for the future. Think about what is important to you and how you can continue to bring value to the world throughout your life. Develop good habits such as gratitude and making the most of each day. These are things that I hear from my geriatric patients as being vital.”
With this in mind, we at the Advocate have pulled together some habits that you can include in your daily routine to help you live a longer, more healthful and prosperous life.
The first and honestly probably the easiest habit to start is to begin exercising for the recommended amount of time each week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least two types of physical activity each week – aerobic activity and muscle strengthening.
Examples of Aerobic activity include walking, running, or other form of cardio exercise, like a step-aerobics class. Muscle Strengthening involves working major muscle groups such as the legs, hips, back, core, chest, arms and shoulders.
The CDC also recommends that adults exercise for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week. That doesn’t have to be all at once, but can be spread across as many days as desired. For example, working out for 30 minutes, 5 days a week would meet the recommended amount of activity time.
How do you know whether you are doing moderate-intensity work? Try the Talk Test. The CDC writes in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “As a rule of thumb, a person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk, but not sing during the activity. A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without pausing for a…