Page 29 - BusinessWest 2021 Senior Planning Guide
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Active and Proactive
Staying Physically, Mentally Sharp
Is Key to Healthy Aging By CHAD MOIR
 Food for Thought
According to the USDA’s most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, not only are we not getting enough key nutrients, we’re eating too much unhealthy food. Below is the percentage of men and women, in two different age brackets, who are overshooting their daily recommended limits of added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.
Men, 19-30 Men, 31-59 Women, 19-30 Women, 31-59
Added sugars 62% 59% 66% 63%
Saturated fat
76% 97%
73% 97% 71% 84% 70% 82%
       “Living a
will speed
up the
affecting you both physically and mentally. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, and try to do it at least two or three times a week.”
Continued on page 48
health, but it can also help reduce cholesterol and keep you feeling full
Staying active physically, mentally, and socially while aging is the most important thing you can do to preserve your health.
Being active can reduce arthritis pain, decrease your risk of memory loss, help lower blood pressure, and help with ease of mobility.
It’s never too late to get moving. If you aren’t already active, it can feel intimidating to begin a routine. Consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. Also, physical therapists are a great resource. They will help you design and implement an exercise routine best suited for your current activity level.
Check out these five ways to promote active aging.
1. Go for a walk. This is the easiest and least expensive form of exercise you can do. You
do not need a gym membership or any fancy equipment. All you need is some comfortable clothes and tennis shoes.
2. Do muscle-strengthening exercises. As we age, our muscles can shrink, making us weaker. A sedentary lifestyle can accelerate this process. The CDC recommends adults over age 65 do strength exercises at least two times a week. Light weights, resistance bands, and body- weight exercises are a great way to improve strength.
3. Exercise your mind. As important as it is to exercise the body, it is just as important to do exercises for the mind to stay sharp. Puzzles, crossword puzzles, and reading books are
great ways to exercise the mind and assist with memory.
4. Maintain social engagement. Numerous studies have found that staying socially active can help reduce the risks of dementia. Socializing with friends and family helps keep the mind active. If you are struggling to stay socially active, check out your YMCA, JCC, senior center, religious centers, etc.
5. Lower your stress. Stress negatively affects your body. High levels of stress have been linked to an increase risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, and can weaken your immune system. Using relaxing techniques
for weight management. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans all provide fiber — so reap the benefits of these plant-based foods daily.
Protein: Muscle loss, or sarcopenia, is a natural part of
the aging process, making it a real concern for older adults — especially since it’s estimated that about 50% of women and 30% of men age 71 and older don’t get enough protein-rich foods
on a daily basis. Aim to incorporate a mixture of animal-based protein foods, like beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and fish; as well as plant-based sources like beans, whole grains, nut butters, soy products, and lentils.
Vitamin B12: The ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases
as we age, and certain medications can further decrease absorption. Eat animal-based foods and foods fortified with vitamin B12, like breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast, to boost intake.
Limit Sodium, Added Sugar,
and Saturated Fat
Because older adults are at greater risk for chronic disease, like diabetes and heart disease, it’s especially important to monitor intake of sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat. Additionally, according
such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga have been proven to help reduce stress. The most important thing to do is to stay
active. Living a sedentary lifestyle will speed up the aging process, affecting you both physically and mentally. Find an exercise routine that
you enjoy, and try to do it at least two or three times a week. Do not do anything that causes pain, and always consult with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
It is never too late to start, or restart, living an active life. Aging gracefully is about living your best life while having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. n
Chad Moir is an active aging specialist and CEO of DopaCare Physical Therapy; admin@
to the most recent Dietary
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