by Carol Dechen
Oh, the Golden Years, it definitely has its pros and cons. Some of the pros might include retirement, time to travel, and no alarm clock. And then there’s the cons: feeling tired, less energy, health concerns, and lots of doctors’ appointments. So as we get older there are some things to consider in order to go into our 60s and 70s as healthy as we can be.
Eating Whole Foods – No, not the store Whole Foods but making sure we get enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy. Along with that, eating less of the fatty meat, butter, sweet treats, salt, and package foods. Studies have shown that watching what we eat can reduce our risks of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Remember that eating the color of the rainbow will keep you well.
Exercise – Exercise does not mean that you must run a marathon or do a 45-mile bike ride. Simple exercise can promote balance, stronger muscles, increase flexibility, and lessen arthritis pain. All of this helps avoid falls and injury. The easiest form of exercise is walking. Aim for 30 minutes per day and if that seems like too much, shoot for shorter chunks of time and increase as you feel like you can. Regular exercise, especially a brisk walk, delivers huge health benefits. It helps keep brain cells healthy and increases blood and oxygen levels. Research suggests that exercise may delay or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Walking also helps control weight, boosts your mood, and helps you sleep better. Exercise makes you less likely to get heart disease and type 2 diabetes, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol.
Socializing – Staying connected with other people helps prevent loneliness. When you are lonely or feel isolated you are more likely to get depressed or dementia. Those who report feeling left out and isolated have more trouble with everyday tasks like self-care and navigating in their homes. Lonely people have higher levels of stress hormones, which can cause inflammation and swelling and is linked to arthritis and diabetes. So stay connected with family and friends or possibly do some volunteer work or help someone in need.
Curb Bad Habits – Cut out tobacco, as it is linked to heart disease, cancer, lung and gum disease, and other health issues. And it is never too late to quit. Same can be said about alcohol; too much can cause liver disease and cancer. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women should have only 1 drink per day.
Stay Optimistic – People with a positive outlook live longer and have fewer heart attacks. Being optimistic leads to a better outlook and can be a powerful ally. That same attitude can help us feel better about ourselves, enabling us to eat better, feel better, and take care of our body. Therefore, we can add years to our lives. We can practice being positive when we: smile, refrain from negativity, keep a gratitude journal, do good things for others, surround yourself with people who boost your spirits, and accept the things you cannot change.
Sleep – Insomnia is common in older adults. Whether it’s getting to sleep or staying asleep, it’s very important that our bodies get time to reach a deep sleep. It helps our bodies heal and rebuild while in sleep mode. It helps when we have a sleep/walk schedule. Naps are fine, but limit them to 20-30 minutes so that they will not interfere with nighttime sleep.
Challenge your mind – Things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, or reading are all good for our brains. Keep learning and trying new things to help boost brainpower. These tasks may help lower the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.
Let’s go into 2023 as healthy as we can be!
South Jersey Dream Center—764 lbs of food/items
Angels Community Outreach —248 lbs of clothing
Jeannette’s Closet—108 lbs of clothing, 27 donated hours
West Deptford Fire—$480, $985 in kind, club $150
Seeds of Hope Easter candy—73 bags filled, in kind $75
Gloucester County EMS stuffed animals—140 animals (4 per ambulance!), in kind $360
GWCM—Seventh Day Adventist Church-Feminine products, Men’s Depends and Bras—in kind $385; Body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste—in kind $75; back to school project—in kind $79
Clothes can be delivered to Chris T., Bras to Linda C., Toiletries to Kim VZC. (text to all first)