資料來源：7 Tips for Wellness and Healthy Aging | My Medicare Matters
7 Tips for Wellness and Healthy Aging
June 22, 2015
by: The My Medicare Matters Team
You’ve probably heard a lot about wellness in the past few years—from “wellness initiatives” in the workplace to gyms and yoga studios promising that their classes will “restore your wellness.” Healthcare plans emphasize wellness now—Medicare actually includes an annual wellness visit as well as a variety of other preventive health services. But what exactly is wellness, and how can you implement it in your everyday life?
In general, wellness refers to the pursuit of a healthy, balanced lifestyle focused on both the mind and the body. In practice, it means taking the time to exercise, stay mentally engaged, keep your stress levels low, eat a balanced diet, cut down on bad habits (like smoking or binge drinking), and maintain your emotional well-being and relationships.
It is also a crucial factor in healthy aging and disease prevention. Studies have shown that seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), and almost one out of every two adults has one or more chronic illnesses, many of which are preventable. Focusing on preventing diseases before they occur allows people of all ages to live healthier and happier lives, and often allows seniors to retain their independence and age in their own homes. So what are some tried and true strategies for achieving wellness? Check out the 7 tips below.
Eat right. For most adults this means at least 400 grams (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables a day, as well as five to eight 8-oz. glasses of water. It is also important to keep your sugar intake low and to avoid highly processed foods that contain lots of sugar, fat, and salt. Try using spices and fresh herbs for flavor in your favorite dishes (rather than extra butter or fried coatings) and consider swapping less healthy ingredients for their vegetarian version, such as zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta. To increase your water intake (and decrease sugar), try subbing homemade flavored water for soda. Just add whatever natural ingredients you like to your next glass of water, such as lemon juice, cucumbers, fresh mint/basil, or strawberries.
Stay active—in a way that’s fun for you. You’re more likely to stick with an athletic activity that you actually enjoy, so consider walking with a friend, trying a group dance class, going for a hike, or anything else that appeals to you. You can start with just 10 minutes a day, and eventually try building towards 30 minutes of daily exercise. Every little bit helps.
Try meditation. New studies have shown that meditation may prevent mental deterioration, keeping your brain healthy as you age. Meditation is also a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety, leading to better overall health and quality of life. Try meditating for just 5 minutes a day a couple times a week, and build from there!
Learn a new skill. Try learning a new skill that requires concentration, creative thinking and memorization, like chess, crossword puzzles, or writing poetry. It’s never too late to master that skill you always wanted to have—piano playing perhaps, or speaking French? Daily mental exercise helps you stay sharp and prevents cognitive decline.
Volunteer. Volunteering has been proven to boost happiness, and is also a great way to bond with friends and meet new people in your community (another proven factor in achieving wellness). Find a few hours a month and pick an activity that appeals to you and will keep you coming back.
Learn about fall prevention. Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Falls are also the leading cause of fractures and traumatic brain injuries in older adults. Prevent falls and injury by removing loose carpet or throw rugs. Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter, and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms. Wearing shoes with good support (rather than walking barefoot) can also help prevent falls.
Wear sunscreen. Many people don’t realize that your skin actually gets thinner and more susceptible to sunburn (and therefore skin cancer) as you age. Each year more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US, over 90 percent of which are caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVR). Make sure to wear a high SPF sunscreen that protects against UVR rays, and always reapply every few hours. It is also a good idea to stay under the shade during peak UVR hours (10-3 standard time), and to wear a hat to prevent burning on the top of your head, where it is more difficult to apply sunscreen.