Healthy aging is in the public spotlight now, more than ever before. The population is experiencing a 20-year increase in the average life span. The "Baby Boom" after the WWII has resulted in the present record numbers of persons aged over 65 years.
With the average lifespan expected to extend another 10 years by 2050 worldwide, staying healthy and active is crucial. The increased life expectancy reflects the success of our public health care. Public health for the growing population must now, however, respond with proactive steps and an awareness of the constant investment made for future health in daily choices. Healthy diets, with organic fresh foods, supplements for good nutrition, and daily exercise to keep physically fit and flexible can prevent many age-related diseases and reduce chronic illnesses, injuries, and disabilities.
Taking an active role in aging in a healthy way can start at any age. It can reduce medical and social costs. Everyone can and should plan for a vibrant and enjoyable long future. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) talks about the 15 signs of aging, including mental, physical, dental and diet health of older adults. The call to action is so important to prevent diseases, distress and early deaths. With obesity on the rise, health is often compromised and malnutrition is a very real problem. According to the National Council on Aging, up to 10% of all older Americans are malnourished. The numbers are even higher for seniors in health care settings. About 60% of older adults in hospitals and 35-85% of older residents in long-term care facilities are malnourished. Malnutrition can worsen chronic conditions and make it difficult for older adults to remain independent.
There is so much helpful information that suits many budgets on how to balance a good nutritional diet for health and energy at any age.
Cutting down on processed foods and buying more fresh produce to prepare meals from scratch is simple, fun, and so much healthier than eating fast food or canned goods. Taking a good multivitamin will help ensure that many nutritional needs are met. If unsure about what is processed and what is not, anything pre-prepared is processed in some form or another and needs some preservative or stabilizer; even breads, canned goods and sauces. Checking ingredients and learning more about how to prepare healthy meals and snacks is important any time. For aging adults, if it is difficult to prepare or cater for regular meals, they should seek assistance. There is help from community-based organizations, public health centers, health care professionals, and other organizations interested in reducing malnutrition among older adults. Volunteering to help neighbors and family make healthy nutritious choices is another way to reduce malnutrition.
Keep moving to keep fit! Any age is a good age to exercise. The body is designed to move and does best when exercise it part of one’s lifestyle. Physical inactivity in an older population leads to chronic illness and disabilities. Age associated changes in the cardiovascular system can be prevented and even reversed with regular cardiovascular stimulating exercise. Joint health and maintenance of mobility and stability is also improved with regular weight-bearing exercise, for healthy bones and muscles, and to keep osteoporosis at bay.
Healthy aging is a process and since everyone has different needs, we at Metro Integrative can assist you. Come in for a chat, and set up a consultation with one of our health practitioners to get advice on diet, supplements and lifestyle to plan for a vital and enjoyable future.
Dr Sally Warren, Naturopath
Metro Integrative Pharmacy
Ref: cdc.gov, www.niams.nih.gov, National Council on Aging
Advice from the Naturopath
Aging adults with health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart trouble can still plan for regular exercise, just be conservative as you start, and build slowly. If concerned, check with your doctor or specialist. The Surgeon General advises an optimal goal of at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. That can mean starting with a walk each day and building up to add more activities like yoga or tai chi in the week. Any weight-bearing exercise is good for the health of bones and muscles, which in turn help to reduce bone loss and improve stability to prevent falls.
Diet is so important, as is supplementing for your individual needs. Multivitamins are a great start and with a wide choice of age appropriate supplements, Metro can assist you to find your exact needs. There are also many other supplements that can assist with the prevention of some diseases, and others that assist with the maintenance of health. Come in to talk to one of our experts in health and wellness to get personalized attention.
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This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.