Have you taken charge of your healthy aging? We’ve got a cornucopia of tips for you and your family to get happy and healthy this fall.
Autumn is harvest time and it offers a plentiful bounty of “health holidays” to remind us of the many ways we can take charge of the aging process. Whether we’re reflecting on our own habits or those of our senior parents, there is no bad time to take stock of how we’re doing and make plans for good health well into the future.
As the holidays loom — with all the extra stress that comes along with it — it’s even more important to stay on top of our fitness and health, and remember that happy aging is healthy aging.
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We’ve rounded up nine tips for taking charge of your physical well-being this fall:
National Cholesterol Education is celebrated each year in the fall, so it’s the perfect time to get your cholesterol checked if you haven’t already done so this year. Learning more about your own cholesterol levels, says the CDC, will help you make the right food and lifestyle choices to meet your personal health goals.
For many types of cancer, early detection and treatment boosts chances of survival well into the 90th percentile. Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month are also honored during this time of year, so be sure to ask your doctor about symptoms, screening, and risk for other potential cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.
It’s Fruits and Veggies — More Matters Month, and there’s no better time to start taking charge of healthy eating by enjoying the bounty of fall produce. Thanksgiving is on the way, and it’s a prime opportunity to share delicious fruits and veggies with the whole family and help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
Social isolation is linked to poor health outcomes in aging adults, including anxiety, depression, and an increased risk of mental and physical ailments. Staying connected with family and friends, on the other hand, helps seniors remain active, alert, and emotionally healthy.
National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month alerts us that atrial fibrillation is just one of many risks to heart health that increases as we get older. Fortunately, we can take charge of our heart health through proper exercise, nutrition, stress and weight management. If you suspect a heart condition, ask your doctor if an EKG or other tests are necessary.
The holidays are a source of added stress for many of us. Be aware of any changes to your mental health and your family’s well-being.
We tend to eat more and exercise less during the fall and winter, citing the holidays as an excuse. But physical exercise is a sure way to stay happy and healthy: not only does it help us maintain energy levels and burn off those extra calories, it helps beat the winter blues. If you haven’t exercised in a while, try something low-impact like yoga.
It’s Whole Grains Month — celebrate a healthy harvest by incorporating more into your diet. Whole grains are critical to ongoing senior health, helping to prevent diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and stroke. Just switching to whole grain bread or wheat pasta, or resolving to bake with whole-wheat flour, can make a big difference in the whole family’s health.
Keeping mentally and physically active are important strategies for keeping our brains healthy well into older age. Whether you enjoy board games or crossword puzzles, preventing memory loss doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Getting a good night’s sleep may also help protect against dementia.
What are your plans for taking charge of your healthy aging this fall? Share your stories with us in the comments below.