Healthy Aging Month | 6 Tips to Celebrate the Positive Aspects of Growing Older
Authored by Paula Dibo, MD
Internal Medicine, Day Kimball Healthcare
A Norwich Bulletin Healthy Living Column
September is Healthy Aging Month, and celebrates the many positive aspects of growing older, while inspiring adults to improve their overall health and well-being. Thanks to advancements in medicine, humans are living longer. Therefore, it’s more important than ever before to develop healthy habits as we age.
Healthy aging includes finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, and staying physically and socially active. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself; take up a new hobby, or pursue a new career. The key is to discover ways to incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle and to ditch the bad ones.
Here are 6 tips you can take to stay healthy as you enter into your golden years:
- Learn to manage stress. Individuals who have higher levels of baseline stress are more prone to diabetes, depression, heart disease and obesity. Discover a creative outlet or take up activities like yoga and mindfulness to help reduce stress.
- Get an annual physical. Don’t miss your yearly checkups and other preventative screenings including pap smears, colonoscopies, mammograms, and Bone density scans (DEXA). Preventative screenings can save lives by catching diseases in their early stages.
- Focus on nutrition. Eat a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid or limit starchy, fried and processed foods and too much red meat and reduce salt and sugar intake. Be sure to kick bad habits like excessive drinking and smoking, too.
- Catch some Zzz’s. Get your beauty sleep! Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night to allow your body time to refresh and renew itself.
- Keep moving. It’s easy and common to become less active as you age, but it is important to remember that physical activity improves our overall health and well-being. Exercise builds strength, improves balance and coordination, and can help prevent disease and weight gain. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine even in small ways such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Stay social. Don’t be afraid to make new friends, and make an effort to see your old friends, too. A sedentary and isolated lifestyle can lead to health issues and depression. Make sure to follow CDC recommendations by wearing a mask, washing hands, gathering virtually, or having small gatherings if you are fully vaccinated. You can also join a class, or seek out volunteer opportunities!
Dr. Paula Dibo is an internal Medicine physician at the Day Kimball Medical Group practice located at 612 Hartford Pike, in Dayville CT. To learn more about internal medicine services at Day Kimball Healthcare, visit daykimball.org/primarycare.