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Better With Age


March 15, 2021 Posted in: Health & Wellness

 

Staying healthy as you get older is as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4. Four experts share the essential do's and don'ts of staying well later in life.

1. DO Boost Your Diet

"Our energy needs often decrease as we age. It’s important to incorporate well-balanced meals that provide nutrients without extra, added calories. Choose colorful fruits and vegetables and go for the whole grains. Higher fiber content aids in digestive health. Increasing calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health. Salmon, trout and tuna contain vitamin D, and calcium sources include dairy products and leafy green vegetables. Also, leafy greens may help to slow cognitive decline with aging, so consume at least one serving a day.”

— Karen Klefot, RD, LD, registered dietitian and outpatient diabetes educator at Saint Joseph Hospital 

2. DON'T Just Sit There

"I think one of the most important things to do as you get older is keep moving. Exercise can help prevent or delay some conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or osteoporosis. If you already have these conditions, exercise can help improve them. Choose activities that are easy on the joints, such as biking, swimming or using an elliptical. Walking is one of the easiest ways to stay active as you get older. If walking hurts your knees, try taking several small steps instead of long strides; a recent study states this can help alleviate pressure on your knees.”

— Frank Taddeo, MD, sports medicine physician, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group– Orthopedics, Lexington

3. DO Meet With Your Provider

"Make sure you stay on schedule with your regular screenings. People at average risk of colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 45 and every 10 years thereafter. Those at risk should receive a colonoscopy earlier and more frequently. Regular skin checks for cancer are an important screening, as well. Women should receive mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, and men should receive prostate cancer screenings. In addition, regular wellness visits are extremely important. They let you discuss your wellness goals with your provider. They also let your provider know how to help you reach those goals.”

— Rachel DeCoster, MSN, APRN, nurse practitioner, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care, Winchester

4. DON'T Skimp on Sleep

"You may have heard you need less sleep as you get older, but all adults need seven to nine hours a night no matter their age. Good sleep allows your brain to remove proteins in its arteries that can lead to dementia. It also improves your brain function and helps your body repair itself. If you have trouble falling asleep, I recommend doing a calming activity before bed such as reading or drinking bedtime tea. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. If you still aren’t getting good sleep, bring it up with your provider.”

— Robin House, APRN, family nurse practitioner, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care, London


A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

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