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Offline pramanisa

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Take time to take care of your Health
« on: June 10, 2007, 03:04:38 AM »
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    Take Time to Take Care

    How many hats do you wear? Professional. Mother. Caretaker. Wife. Planner. No wonder it's so easy for you to forget about you.

    Physical Health

    One of the most important things you can do at any age is to eat right. A healthy, balanced diet has lots of benefits, including feeling better and looking better. But what does a healthy, balanced diet mean? Doctors recommend a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates (such as whole grain foods, legumes) and healthy fats (including olive oil).
    As you consider your future health, this also might be a good time to try to lose any extra weight. Shedding pounds, along with eating the foods that are good for you, can help you to stave off some of the most serious age-related health problems, including osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Middle-aged weight gain, which tends to settle around our middle, is particularly dangerous because it increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
    But there's another reason to eat right. The vitamins and minerals found in healthy foods boost our immune system and help our bodies to function better. Many fruits and vegetables, including berries, tomatoes and broccoli, contain phytochemicals, which improve cognitive functions and prevent disease. And Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, helps us to handle stress better in addition to helping us fight off colds.
    Many of us have busy lives with little or no time for exercise. But did you know that in addition to raising your metabolism, exercise can help to extend your life and improve the quality of your life for years to come? One study found that walking one hour a day can extend your life expectancy by two years.
    Strength training is particularly beneficial to us as we age. At age 40, we begin to lose muscle mass each year, slowly becoming weaker. But strength training can rebuild lost muscle mass and make bones stronger, which is particularly important for post-menopausal women. It also improves your balance, helps you to sleep better and helps your heart.
    One important finding of the MacArthur Foundation aging study is that it's never too late to stop such bad habits as smoking, eating fatty foods and not exercising. Within a year of quitting smoking, most people reduce their risk of heart disease.

    Staying Sharp, Staying Connected

    Perhaps one of the most worrisome signs of aging is diminished memory. But, contrary to popular opinion, we continue to grow brain cells throughout our lives and adults of any age can improve their memory and increase their capacity for learning. Researchers say the mental decline many older people experience is because they aren't taxing their brains enough. The nerve cells in their brains are atrophying due to largely routine behavior.
    As with your body, the more you exercise your brain, the better it will function. While taking a class and developing new interests are among the many good options for challenging your brain, another thing you can do is to learn new skills. In an age of instant messaging, camera phones and continually faster and smarter computers, keeping up with new technological advances and mastering them will help preserve your mental acuity.
    Taking steps to reduce stress also will help keep your brain functioning well as stress affects our memory and ability to learn new things, in addition to reducing the flow of blood to our brains.
    As you consider your future, also look for activities that give your life meaning and keep you involved in your community. Being socially connected is important to our mental health and overall sense of well-being. Consider volunteering with a civic organization or your church. Further, stay in close contact with friends and family and start expanding your social network now.

    A Positive Attitude

    We've all heard of the mind-body connection, and as caregivers, perhaps you've even witnessed how one's attitude can have an effect on one's health. So another key factor in staying healthy is to look upon the future and aging positively. As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change, and those who remain flexible and adaptable age best.
    Those in the 100 plus club - the centenariums - confirm this. When a researcher looked at similarities among the attitudes of people older than 100, she found that they all stayed engaged with life, were able to cope with loss and had both a sense of humor and hope.

    Healthy Habits

    Eat a balanced, healthy diet, including five helpings of fruits and vegetables a day
    Don't consume "empty" calories from snacks like chips and candy bars
    Shed extra weight
    Never skip a meal; distribute calories equally among meals
    Remain physically fit; even activities like walking and gardening help
    Strength train to rebuild your muscle mass and keep your bones strong
    Adopt healthy habits; it's never to late to stop smoking
    Drink alcohol in moderation
    Get enough sleep
    Reduce stress; it accelerates the body's aging process and kills memory
    Take time to relax
    Mind & Spirit
    Keep your mind active by doing things that exercise your memory
    Give of yourself; contribute time to your community
    Maintain social connections with friends, family, co-workers
    Seek inspiration
    Live life with hope and confidence
    Laugh often
    Have a positive attitude; see the glass as half full
    Be flexible and adaptable to change
    Maintain a future orientation
    Tips For Preserving Your Health
    In your 40s:
    Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked
    Get a mammogram
    In your 50s:
    Lose the weight around your middle
    Get screened for cancer , especially colon cancer
    Get flu shots
    Boost your calcium
    Have prostate screening
    In your 60s
    If retired, replace your co-workers with new friends and learn new things
    Get an eye exam
    If on several medications, have them screened for possible drug interactions
    In your 70s:
    Get tested for hearing problems
    Exercise your mind
    In your 80s:
    Stay physically active
    Avoid falls
    At any age:
    Get regular check ups


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