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Healthy Eating + Exercise
Healthy Aging—Helping Older Adults Achieve Optimal Health and Wellness

people stretchingLife is a balancing act and adjusting your nutrition and physical activity habits can help you maintain long-term good health. Even as an older adult your body is constantly changing yet small daily lifestyle habits can positively influence changes that happen with aging.

What can you do to have more energy, maintain physical activity levels, prevent bone loss and osteoporosis and prevent muscle loss that can impair your balance and strength? The best way is by making positive food and physical-activity choices every day.  Here are some quick tips that can keep you well through diet and activity.

Improve Your Nutrition:

  • woman with glass of milkYou likely need fewer calories now than you did in your 30’s or even in your 50’s. Choose a mix of nutrient-rich foods every day from all the food groups to get more nutrients for fewer calories.

  • Stock your kitchen and pantry with basic foods so that you always have food on hand for a healthy meal or snack.

  • Tired of cooking? If you need more ideas to prepare fast and nutritious meals, try these easy meal ideas.

  • Consume at least three servings of low-fat milk or milk products each day to get enough calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

  • Make sure to eat foods high in protein with each meal and snack, rather than saving your protein for dinner. Try to include at each meal one serving of lean meat, poultry, beans, eggs, milk, nuts or seeds.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking fluids throughout the day. Your ability to recognize thirst lessens with age so be proactive and choose water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice and decaffeinated tea.

  • Eat foods high in fiber to help with digestive regularity, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

Improve Your Physical Health:

  • couple joggingMaintaining your physical fitness level is important for your independence. If you are not active, start slowly with a walk around the house or block. You can also break your activity into shorter times of 10-minute blocks and benefit.

  • Be active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week with activities that raise your heart rate, such as walking, Pilates, yoga, a water-aerobics class or dancing.

  • Do muscle-strengthening activities two times a week incorporating all major muscle groups. Use an elastic band or small hand weights.

  • If you are not sure how much activity you are currently getting and would like ideas to make improvements, see the CDC's Physical Activity Guidelines.

In addition to these tips, try the Healthy Eating Planner tool to find your calorie and nutrition needs tailored to your needs or this downloadable handout, Healthier Eating & Physical Activity: Tips for Older Adults for more ideas.  

What one or two ideas will you include in your routine to maintain your health?