Some of us are more in tune with our bodies than others but as we age it’s never been more important to do what we can to stay fit and healthy. It is okay to indulge every once in a while as moderation is the key to living life to the fullest and healthiest. It’s also vital that you stay as active as possible and that doesn’t mean just being physically active but also mentally and socially engaged as well. All of these variables tie together to create optimum health or decline, which all depends on the effort being put into them on a regular basis.
As dementia cases in the aging population continue to rise to alarming levels – estimated dementia cases in Canada are already around 564 thousand with the projected numbers of patients developing some form of dementia expected to nearly double that total over the next couple of decades – more research is being done to try to pinpoint not just the causes of cognitive impairment but also the preventative steps we can take to ward it off.
As part of your senior care Toronto health agenda, here are some things to be mindful of and try to incorporate into your daily routine from now on to achieve or maintain the best mental, physical and emotional health you can. The first question is more important than you may think:
What are you eating?
We are all familiar with the saying “you are what you eat” and if you use the analogy that your body is like a vehicle and food is akin to gasoline, wouldn’t you put good quality fuel into it? The same train of thought should be used in relation to your body because food isn’t what it used to be when you were a kid. Today’s western diet focuses on convenience more than real nutrition and unless you are cooking and baking from scratch, it is hard to determine just what is in the meals and snacks you are eating. The western diet in particular can be especially harmful to your health because of our reliance on or preference for red and processed meats, white bread, pre-packaged foods and sweets. A recent study by Tufts University and The Jackson Laboratory suggests that a sedentary lifestyle combined with a poor diet contributes to as many as 25% of Alzheimer’s cases. Cutting trans fats and saturated fats from your diet is important as is upping your daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and eating whole grains, beans and sticking to meats like poultry and fish.
Are you exercising?
Physical activity can be an issue for those suffering from serious medical conditions but it is important to discuss with your doctor safe and effective types of movements that can help you stay active. Exercising should feel good to you and it’s a wonderful way to be social with friends by taking a class together. Working out is a stimulating activity to do for your mind and leads to general feelings of well-being. The main factor for exercising is to help increase your overall strength, flexibility, mobility and improve your breathing and heart rate. If you are one of those types of people that never enjoyed being physical active, there are lots of ways to get a little exercise in like going for a walk to the store instead of driving there, parking far from the entrance at the mall, or doing chores around the house.
Ever tried meditation?
Well-being is a crucial element to overall good health and time after time we have seen medical studies on how damaging stress is to our health. Deep breathing, stretching and practicing the routine of quieting your mind can all have wonderfully uplifting effects on your overall health and well-being.
Are you mentally stimulated enough?
A recent study from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute suggests that people whose work requires complex thinking and activities are better able to withstand the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you had a more stimulating work life before retirement or not, you can still stay mentally active as you age. Playing memory games, doing crosswords and puzzles of all kinds are great. Maybe now would be a good time to learn a new language as that will keep your brain very active deciphering new words and pronunciations. Even varying your daily habits can keep your brain more active.