September is Healthy Aging Month: Tips to feel amazing while aging

September is Healthy Aging Month ...
September is Healthy Aging Month ... September is Healthy Aging Month and a great time to look at current lifestyle choices. Veterans Memorial Hospital dietitian Jill Fleming, pictured above, provides 10 tips to help people continue to feel amazing as they age. Submitted photo.

by Jill Fleming, MS, RD/LD, Veterans Memorial Hospital Registered Dietitian

September is Healthy Aging Month and a great time to look at your current lifestyle choices. It is possible to grow old gracefully with just a few tweaks to your life. Here are 10 simple tips to help you continue to feel amazing as you age.

1) Exercise regularly. Make exercise a habit by doing something physically challenging to your body every day.  Soon it will become routine and can help minimize stress and even prevent certain diseases. Adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week for optimal health.
2) Eat a balanced diet.  Eating a diet full of brightly colored fruit and vegetables will provide high levels of antioxidants, which help decrease risk of cancer and heart disease. Make sure you are also eating plenty of whole grains and lean protein. Choose heart healthy fats in small amounts, such as a few tablespoons of nuts daily.
3) Drink plenty of water. As you age, it can be difficult to tell when your body is thirsty, which can lead to dehydration, dizziness, constipation, and urinary tract infections. Plan to drink enough water to produce non-cloudy urine.
4) Challenge your brain. Experiencing memory lapses is part of aging, but working your brain by playing music, doing crosswords, and enjoying games with family and friends is a great way to challenge your mind and keep it young.
5) Get enough sleep. Falling and staying asleep can be tricky as you get older, yet getting adequate sleep is essential for your mood, attention span, memory and even managing your weight. Experts recommend getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
6) Reduce stress long-term. Excess stress can cause depression and memory loss in later years. To avoid these problems, make sure you get enough sleep, exercise often, and eat a balanced diet. Meditation and yoga may also help.
7) Socialize with family and friends. Aging can make it difficult to stay in touch with friends and family. Maintain quality relationships to prevent isolation and loneliness. Being social is important for your sense of well-being. Call someone today to schedule a lunch or coffee date.
8) Go outside daily. Nature is a great stress-reliever, and spending time outside has been shown to increase concentration. It also makes it easier to exercise and to absorb much-needed Vitamin D, which strengthens bones and improves immune function.
9) Don’t act your age, or at least what you think a person of your age should act like. What was your best year so far? Age 28? Age 45? This year? Picture yourself at that age and begin living as if you are this age again. This positive thinking goes a long way toward feeling younger.
10) Take charge of your own health! Schedule regular check-ups with your physician and dentist to maintain your teeth and health. If you are interested in a nutrition plan specifically tailored to your needs, contact Veterans Memorial Hospital to schedule a session with our Registered Dietitian.

For more information on how to age gracefully, call the dietitians at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.