AgingCare.com January 8, 2015
There’s no time like the present to reaffirm your commitment to your own health and well-being. The best part? You don’t have to adhere to any grand resolutions, just try to adopt a few of these simple daily health habits:
Make yourself a priority: It’s easy to put your own health needs on the back burner, especially if you’re balancing family obligations,work responsibilities and a social life. But, even if it seems more convenient in the short-term, avoiding the doctor’s office, gym or produce section of your local grocery store will only hurt you in the long run. Make a commitment to prioritize your physical and mental well-being this year.
Get organized: The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to clear the clutter from your life and to stop making excuses for putting things off.
Make more meals Mediterranean: Following a Mediterranean-style diet—full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats—has long been upheld as a paragon example of healthy eating. So feel free to indulge your inner-Greek with foods like salmon, spinach, tahini, couscous, olives, arugula and red wine (in moderation). Just be sure to stay away from the baklava!
Stay social: Maintaining strong social connections is essential for warding off depression and other chronic diseases. Experts have also found that serious isolation—both self-imposed and unavoidable—can significantly degrade an individual’s quality of life.
Get a brown bag checkup: So-called “brown bag checkups” are a great way to ensure the safety and efficacy of the medications you are taking. During a brown bag checkup, bring all of the medications you’re taking—both prescription and over-the-counter—to your pharmacist, who will then make sure that none of the drugs could be negatively interacting with one another.
Be diligent about brushing: Take a few extra minutes each day to attend to your chompers. Poor oral health has been linked to a variety of ailments, from dementia to heart disease.
Get active: Absence of physical activity is one of the top 10 Things That Age You. Indeed, sedentary behavior can contribute to the development of not only physical but mental decline as well—especially as you age. The good news is that exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery. Go for a hike in the woods, walk around a local park or just play a game of tug-of-war with your dog–anything that gets your blood pumping and amps up your endorphins.
Seek a serene mindset: Anxiety and fear can do a number on your overall well-being by kicking your stress response into overdrive and causing widespread inflammation in your body. While you may not be able to completely escape feelings of angst, practicing mindfulness and meditation on a regular basis can help you attain a calmer state of mind.
Safeguard your sleep: From memory to metabolism to mood management, research has shown that getting enough sleep is a key component of a healthy body and mind.
Celebrate the simple things: Ignore the cliché nature of this tip, and check out this story of a woman who learned to place more value on life’s simple experiences after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease: The Simple Things in Life With Alzheimer’s.
Be more open-minded: A recent investigation of aging Finns discovered that older adults who adopted a more cynical worldview had a much higher dementia risk than those who were more trusting of other people. These findings held true, even for people who were not clinically depressed, or economically or educationally disadvantaged. Aside from the detrimental health effects of cynicism, consider how much better off the human race would be if there were a little less judgment in the world and a little more compassion and forgiveness.