Let’s talk about the difference between getting older - and growing old gracefully. Statistics show that people are living longer these days, but more of us suffer from conditions that reduce our quality of life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that almost HALF of adult North Americans have some type of chronic health issue. So, here are ways to stay fit and active well into your Golden Years. We found these on the website LiveScience.com:
- First and foremost: Keep moving. Carmel Dyer is the director of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School. She says that even 80-year-old couch potatoes show immediate benefits from physical activity. Exercise also helps control weight, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of dementia.
- Have a positive attitude. In one study, people who described themselves as optimists had a 55-percent lower risk of heart disease. University of Pittsburgh medical professor Dr. Hilary Tindle says that people with positive outlooks have fewer conditions that limit their activities in their senior years.
- The final way to grow old gracefully: Remember that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Margaret Moore is an advisor for the CDC's Healthy Aging Program. She says that as we get older, something as simple as an annual flu shot can prevent a long hospital stay. Plus, diagnosing an illness early makes a huge difference in its long-term impact on our health. Less than one in four people are screened for cancer and other high risk diseases on an annual basis. If you’re in that group, get an appointment for a physical ASAP.