A fit mind, body, spirit
November 7, 2007
Author: Connie Midey, The Arizona Republic
Estimated printed pages: 2
The prescription for boomers hoping to stay fit in body, mind and spirit as they age is much like the prescription for improving heart health, says physician S. Mitchell Harman, director of Kronos Longevity Research Institute in Phoenix.
Eat a heart-healthy diet. That means lots of vegetables and fruits; fish at least twice a week; whole-grain, high-fiber foods; and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol; salt; and sugary beverages and foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. Include omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in food or supplement form.
Exercise your body. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, broken into shorter segments if that fits your schedule better. Any physical activity -- walking, dancing, swimming, playing with the kids or grandkids -- can help you reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Talk with your doctor first if you have health concerns.
Exercise your brain. Studying another language is one of the most powerful ways to challenge your brain. Reading, doing puzzles, working on hobbies and taking classes also help to strengthen brain cells and the connections among them. Consider joining a book, film or current-events discussion group.
Don't use tobacco. It accelerates aging and causes or worsens many medical problems.
Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks a day (for men) or one drink a day (for women). Recent studies suggest even these amounts can be harmful for some people.
Keep in touch with friends. Friends make it easier to stay physically and mentally active, and they provide a support system that helps to lower stress and increase emotional well-being.
Reduce stress. Sing, dance, go to a comedy show, meditate or practice tai chi. Before you turn out the lights at night, jot down one nice thing that happened during the day.
Sources: Alzheimer's Association, American Heart Association and Kronos Longevity Research Institute
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Arizona Living