Healthy Aging

Evidence shows that some of the leading causes of death in the United States, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, some lung diseases, injuries, and HIV/AIDS, often can be prevented by improving personal health habits.

Eating right, staying physically active, and not smoking are a few examples of good habits that can help you stay healthy.

Physical Activity

Research shows that physical activity can help prevent at least six diseases: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity (excess weight), diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental disorders, such as depression.Physical activity also will help you feel better and stay at a healthy weight. Research suggests that brisk walking can be just as good for you as an activity such as jogging. Try to do a total of 30 minutes of constant physical activity, such as fast walking, most days of the week.Before you start being physically active: Talk with your doctor about ways to get started.

Choose something that fits into your daily life, such as walking, gardening, raking leaves, Make time for physical activity, start slowly, and keep at it. If the weather is bad, try an exercise show on TV, watch an exercise tape in your home, walk in the mall, or work around the house. Choose an activity you like, such as dancing or swimming or even washing windows.

Injury Prevention

Following basic safety rules can prevent many serious injuries. Here is a checklist to follow to help keep you safe.

At home:

  • Use smoke detectors. Remember to check the batteries every month and change them every year.
  • If you keep a gun in your home, lock it up and store the ammunition separately, keeping them both out of children’s reach.
  • To help prevent falls: Make sure that hallways and stairwells are well lit. Remove or repair things that could make you trip, such as loose rugs, electrical cords, and toys.
  • Put handrails and traction strips on stairways and in bathtubs.

Away from home:

  • Always wear seat belts while in the car.
  • Never drive after drinking alcohol

Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs can cause serious medical and personal problems. Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to motor vehicle and other accidents, depression, and can cause problems with friends, family, and work. Drug use can cause heart and breathing problems. Alcohol abuse can cause liver and heart problems and throat and mouth cancer.

Advice on Alcohol and Other Drug Use:

  • Don’t use illegal (street) drugs of any kind, at any time.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit the number of alcoholic drinks:  no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

If you have concerns about your alcohol or drug use, talk to your doctor.

Read the questions below. A “yes’ answer to any of the questions may be a warning sign that you have a drinking problem. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider.

  • Have you ever felt that you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

By living healthfully and following these tips for healthy aging, one can extend the length of their life and often, happiness!