Happy, Healthy New Year!
Let’s face it, many of us probably over-indulged over Christmas and thousands of people across the UK are starting the new year, resolved to get fit, eat healthily and limit their alcohol intake. But did you know that a daily glass of red wine actually prolongs the ageing process? Yes – red wine contains resveratrol (which is also found in peanut butter, blueberries, and dark chocolate) and contains anti-ageing properties. Apparently, the French have fewer instances of cancer and heart disease thanks to the amount of red wine they consume!
Of course, we’re not suggesting that you should embrace alcohol as a way to stay healthy – if you do enjoy a tipple, it’s advisable to keep at least two days per week booze-free to give your liver time to recover. But the start of a new year – and a new decade – is an opportunity for many of us to rethink aspects of our lifestyle and no matter how young or old, small changes can make a lasting difference. Here are some of our top tips for making those small changes:
- Stay active: Daily exercise helps you to stay strong and healthy and lowers your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. It is linked to better sleep, meaning more energy – and can even improve self-esteem. Government guidelines recommend older adults do 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio activity per week, as well as strengthening exercises twice a week. If that sounds like a lot, start with less and gradually build up your strength.
- See the doctor: It’s a good idea to have regular routine tests at the doctors to check blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As we age our hearing and eyesight can also be affected, so it’s important to get them checked regularly (eye tests are free for over 60s).
- Ditch the cigarettes! Smoking is linked to a wide range of health issues – heart disease, lung cancer, and bronchitis. Stopping smoking, regardless of your age, will improve your circulation, your lung capacity, your energy levels (and your wallet!)
- Eating the right foods is crucial for good health, energy and preventing illness. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, include plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, oily fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy – and don’t forget water as dehydration can make you feel sluggish and confused.
- Have regular check-ups, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. This will prevent gum disease which can also be linked to diabetes, strokes, heart disease and rheumatoid If you wear dentures or a bridge, keep them clean and ask your dentist to check that they fit properly.
- Ray of sunshine: half of the adult population are thought to suffer from a deficiency of much-needed vitamin D which has been linked to cognitive impairment, bone problems and cardiovascular disease. Short periods of time outside in the sunshine can help boost it, as well as eating certain foods such as eggs and oily fish.
- Get enough Zzzzs: Insomnia is more common among older people and that can leave us feeling tired and grumpy. Try cutting down on daytime naps and going to bed at the same time each night, with a warm milky drink or a herbal tea.
- Stay connected: Socialising can prevent feelings of isolation or anxiety – and is thought to help stall diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It’s never too late to adopt new hobbies and interests and if you’re unable to leave the house regularly, try using video calling such as Skype to stay in touch with friends and family.
In fact, people who follow a healthy lifestyle are thought to live 14 years longer than those who don’t – and even baby steps can make a difference.
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