Inactivity is the greatest health risk for older adults, says the World Health Organization.
Research shows that active living can combat the rate of aging, reduce the risk of developingcertain conditions and even slow the progression of common diseases. Plus, your body getsstronger with activity at any age, so it’s never too early, or too late, to get moving. Walking is agreat way to start.
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of activity. Consider joining a group such as Alberta 55+( alberta55plus.ca). Check with your healthcare provider before starting new physical activity.
Eat healthy meals regularly
Skipping meals makes it hard to get the nutrients you need. A healthy meal includes vegetables, wholegrains and a lower-fat meat or alternative. For more information on building a healthy plate, visit
healthycanadians.org; search eat well plate. Eating three meals a day also gives you more chances toconnect with friends and family. If you need help getting enough food, reach out to community gardens,food banks and delivery services such as Meals on Wheels.
Annual checkups with your primary-care doctorcan help prevent potential ailments. They also helpyou develop and adjust plans to manage existingconditions. Annual vision exams (covered forthose 65 and older by Alberta Health Care) canhelp you see potential hazards and prevent falls.
Likewise, regular trips to the dentist keep yourmouth healthy and help prevent tooth loss. TheAlberta government provides assistance for low-to moderate-income seniors for basic dental andoptical services. See page 23A and 50A.
Include protein at every meal
Protein in your diet helps guard against muscle loss. Balancechicken, fish, beef and pork with meat alternatives such asbeans, lentils, tofu, milk and Greek yogurt.
Using the right safety equipment isthe first step in preventing injury:seatbelts when driving or riding in acar, helmets when cycling and properfootwear when walking. In yourhome, install railings by stairways,grab bars in the shower and otheraids to prevent falls; check that smokeand carbon monoxide detectors areinstalled properly and test themregularly; have an emergency supplykit; and consider a safety-alert systemif you live alone. For more home safetyinformation, see Apple’s Winter 2016issue at applemag.ca.
Falls are not a normal part of aging, butthey are the leading cause of seriousinjury in older adults. Good balanceis the best way to stay strong on yourfeet. Improve your strength and balancewith activities such as walking, waterexercises, yoga or tai chi.
Be falls aware