Six Smart Moves for a Healthier 2022

Aging

Want to have a healthier 2022? Same here!  So, Senior Planet polled our best experts and asked: What’s a smart health move for 2022? They all had solid suggestions.

Ditch the Resolutions.  Yes, yes, we know, what’s New Year’s without resolutions….and, a few weeks later, moping about broken resolutions? Forget resolutions, suggests Janet M. Harvey, CEO of inviteCHANGE, a coaching and education company in Seattle. “A resolution is a hope without a prayer,” she says. Think goals. “A goal is tangible.” Meeting a goal requires planning the steps along the way, pivoting to a new or revised goal when necessary, and figuring out what you need to do and what skills you need to accomplish the goal.

Resolution: Lose weight. Goal: Lose 10 pounds by dropping a pound a week; enlist a friend as a walking buddy. Check in with my doctor if the pounds haven’t started to drop in a month. See the difference?

Change Your Eating Schedule. “Eat more early [in the day] and less later,” says Michael Crupain, MD, on faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine. “Our body’s circadian rhythm (our internal clock) changes our metabolism throughout the day. In the morning we are more sensitive to insulin and in the evening most resistant.” Insulin resistance boosts blood sugar levels and increases the risk of diabetes and other health issues.  “So this year, start shifting when you eat and make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals of the day and dinner the smallest,” Crupain says. Some ethnicities are at higher risk of developing diabetes.

Think of Fitness as Medicine. And forget the myth that you’re too old, suggests Kenneth Cooper, MD, the legendary “Father of Aerobics” who founded The Cooper Institute in Dallas and wrote the 1968 best-seller Aerobics. “Exercise at 60 years of age [and over] is extremely important,” Cooper says. “Even a 10% improvement in your fitness will give you benefits past 60.” Cooper is 90 and walks the talk. A former runner, he had to switch up his routine to stationary cycling after a skiing accident. He also does resistance training, crucial to maintaining muscle mass. Exercise can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease, reverse muscle mass loss (and reduce fall risk) and reduce risk of dementia, among other benefits. “No drug can take the place of an active lifestyle,” Cooper says.

Think of Socializing as a Health Habit. “We all found out during COVID how important relationships are,” says Karen Studer, MD, on faculty at the Loma Linda (CA) School of Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.  “Strengthen your current bonds and make new friends.” It will likely boost well-being and reduce depression.

Balance Yourself. “We know that every year we get older, our balance changes, which puts us at risk for falls and fractures,” says Amy Hess-Fischl, a certified diabetes educator at Kovler Diabetes Center, Chicago. Balance exercises can help greatly, she says. And it’s never too late to start. One example: for a calf stretch, stand facing a wall and push the toes of your right foot against the wall to stretch the calves; hold and repeat on the left. The Mayo Clinic has more balance exercises.

This article offered by Senior Planet and Older Adults Technology Services is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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