Aging Gracefully

Did you hear about the 83 year old woman who talked herself out of a speeding ticket by telling the young officer that she had to get there before she forgot where she was going?
aging gracefully

There are so many debilitating diseases rampant in our environment that it might seem impossible to stay healthy and enjoy your retirement years. Right now, many Baby Boomers might be thinking a few aches and pains that you don’t remember having a short time ago.

Let’s face some truths.

Truth #1: In the next 20 years, the population of adults aged 65 or older will number around 71,000,000. That’s a lot of sore knees and other disabling conditions to deal with when life is supposed to be what you dreamed it would be while you worked your jobs and raised your kids.

Truth #2: Much of the disability and illnesses related to chronic disease and premature death is avoidable with the application of known prevention measures that most ignore. Poor health does not have to be inevitable as you age and several current ailments can be corrected naturally with a healthy lifestyle, specifically regular physical activity, healthy meals, not smoking, to name the big three. Of course, not abusing alcohol can also be added to the list of a healthy lifestyle.

Physical activity on a regular basis has been proven to reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, developing colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Besides helping you to lose weight, your bones, muscles and joints will be a lot healthier than if you adopt a sedentary lifestyle.

Use your head here. Don’t get off the couch and start jogging or lifting weights. Start slowly with gentle walks. Join a water exercise class at the YMCA or YWCA. You can even join a dance class.

Grow a garden and tend to it on a daily basis, which will increase your bending and stretching while providing healthy treats for your table. Even tending to a patio or balcony garden where you grow veggies in pots will help get you moving.

If that is not possible, look for a neighborhood garden and tend to a plot of your own. If one is not available, look for good possibilities on vacant lots with access to water and start one. Be creative.

You can find advice practically everywhere that tells you to eat a healthy diet, regardless of your age. Everyone knows that we need to eat the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients to avoid many ailments and stay healthy. And even though we know that, the lure of fast food, sodas and chips is always with us.

Eating healthy means that you are selecting an assortment of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk products, fish, poultry, lean meats, eggs, beans and nuts on a daily basis. Don’t go overboard; be real.

There’s lots of ways to have a healthy diet without a lot of stress. Let’s start with breakfast.

Eggs, anyway you like them, with a couple of pieces of whole-grain toast and a banana or bowl of sliced peaches will give you a healthy start for your day. Try a bowl of your favorite whole grain cereal with some berries or a sliced banana in it, with low-fat milk. If you drink coffee and like it sweet with cream, use Splenda or honey and fat-free half and half.

Try making lunch with a peanut butter sandwich and sugar-free jam on whole-grain bread with a glass of fat-free milk. Make a salad out of sliced or shredded raw veggies of your choice, topped with a little fat-free or low-fat dressing. Add some low-fat cheese, sunflower seeds or pine nuts, and a chopped up hard-boiled egg for a healthy boost to your day. Think about stuffing a tomato with tuna salad

Your final meal of the day can be satisfying with a bowl of homemade soup made with chicken stock, a handful of beans, onions, an assortment of vegetables, including tomatoes and any chopped up meat you want, like leftover chicken breasts from a previous meal. Serve it with whole-grain English muffins enhanced with garlic butter and low-fat, melted cheese.

In one day, you will have neatly consumed everything you need to consume to stay healthy.

The flip side of staying healthy is to avoid: salt, sugars, trans fats, like those found in cakes, cookies, stick margarines and fried foods, saturated fats that come from cheese (not low-fat or fat-free), fatty meats, butter and whole milk.



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