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Healthy Aging Tips

When British resident Fauja Singh retired from farming, he spent a lot of time caring for his family. And he had more time to rediscover pastimes he used to enjoy, like running. So at 89 years old, he put on a pair of sneakers and a three piece suit and showed up at a local running club event. The runners kindly advised him of more suitable running attire and welcomed him to the club. Since then, Singh has finished dozens of 26.2-mile international marathons, and at 101 years old he finally decided it was time to stick with shorter races. Singh credits his longevity to not smoking, not drinking alcohol, and following a healthy diet.

smiling seniors

Eating healthy and getting regular exercise really is the secret to aging well. As you age, you lose more lean muscle tissue and your metabolism slows. And that means you need to adjust your diet and exercise habits to protect your health. Here are some things you can do:

seniors stretching before exerciseMaintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight or obese, you increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and many other preventable health conditions. You can determine what your ideal weight should be by calculating your Body Mass Index. It's a simple measurement based on a ratio of your height and weight. This easy-to-use calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will help you determine your BMI. Once you know your BMI you can set a goal to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain a little weight if necessary.

Get regular exercise
You don't have to run a marathon like Fauja Singh, but you do need to stay active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Brisk walking, aerobics, swimming, or cycling are excellent activities. Even gardening and doing chores at a faster pace counts. It's also important to do strength building exercises on at least two days a week. Simple body weight exercises are enough to help you maintain your muscle mass and keep your bones strong.

Eat a healthy diet
As you age, your calorie needs will change. Most older people need to eat fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight and get all the nutrients they need for best health. But it's still important to eat a balanced diet made up of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, low-fat dairy or soy products. Leans meats and skinless poultry and fish are good too.
Your doctor may also recommend that you follow a specific diet to control cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other biomarkers to protect your health.

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