Five Healthy Steps at Any Age

Whatever healthy change you want to make, it’s not too late to see big benefits. Here are five places to start (and the rewards that could be yours), with inspiration from Argye Hillis, M.D., director of the cerebrovascular division at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Learn more at Johns Hopkins Medicine's Healthy Aging website.

Be active more often.

Exercise lowers your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers, and that powerful effect leads to something experts call “compression of morbidity.” It essentially means you stay healthy longer in your late years, as compared with someone who spends the final five or 10 years of life battling chronic illness.

“Exercise is also one of the best things you can do to help prevent dementia and other cognitive changes,” says Hillis. Once you’re cleared by your doctor, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

Improve your diet.

There are all sorts of plans out there to help you lose weight, but it’s not only about dropping pounds. Hillis recommends a Mediterranean-style diet for anyone hoping to avoid dementia as well as minimize other health risks. It’s high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish, and low in meat, sugar and processed foods—all to help your cells function better.

Get quality sleep.

Lack of sleep impacts your memory, emotions, weight and even your appearance. The older you get, the harder it can be to fall and stay asleep, but you still need the same amount of hours.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most sleep problems are a result of snoring, medication side effects and underlying medical conditions, such as acid reflux, depression and prostate problems. Addressing those issues with your doctor is a good start. You can also enjoy more satisfying sleep by creating a calming space, dedicating enough time for sleep and practicing relaxation techniques.

Stop smoking.

In as little as 24 hours of stopping smoking, there is a decrease in risk of a heart attack. As for longer-term benefits, Johns Hopkins researchers, in conjunction with scientists from other centers, have found that quitting decreased middle-aged smokers’ risk of dying early by almost half. Exercise can help you combat smoking cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Schedule fitness for the time of day you’re most likely to want a cigarette and soon you may be craving a walk or bike ride instead of a smoke. Still struggling on your own? Ask your doctor about smoking-cessation programs and aids.

Challenge your brain.

Whether it’s learning a language or driving a new route to work, your brain loves tackling fresh tasks. Make it a goal to keep learning as you age.

Learn more at Johns Hopkins Medicine's Healthy Aging website.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Johns Hopkins Medicine does not necessarily endorse, nor does Johns Hopkins Medicine edit or control, the content of posted comments by third parties on this website. However, Johns Hopkins Medicine reserves the right to remove any such postings that come to the attention of Johns Hopkins Medicine which are deemed to contain objectionable or inappropriate content.

Previous post:

Next post: