Seniors – Health, Food Choices, and Exercise: Are You Doing it Right?

“Food just doesn’t taste good anymore.”
“I have no way to go shopping.”
“I don’t feel hungry.”

Sound familiar? These are just a sampling of reasons many older people don’t eat healthy meals. But, making healthy food choices is smart thing no matter what your age!

The most recently published Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) emphasize three major goals for all Americans:

  • Balance calories with physical activity to manage weight
  • Consume more of certain foods and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood
  • Consume fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains

An extra recommendation for older Americans:

  • Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals, or dietary supplements. ¹

There is more to staying healthy than watching what you eat.

It seems fairly common sense to say that adults ages 65 years and older who are overweight are encouraged to not gain additional weight. The trick is figuring out how to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight for older adults who are obese, particularly those with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Intentional weight loss can be beneficial and result in improved quality of life and reduced risk of chronic diseases and associated disabilities.

Seniors StretchingIt is recommended that all adults should participate in some kind of physical activity and that any activity is better than none. However, to see substantial health benefits, at least 2 and a half hours of moderate activity or an hour and 15 minutes of aerobic exercise (or some combination of these) should be performed. These activities can be broken down into simple 10 minutes sessions and spread out throughout the week. More benefit can be achieved by increasing the amount of exercise.

Muscle strengthening activites should be included in a healthy routine at least twice a week. Older adults should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions will allow and do exercises that maintain or improve their balance.

It’s important that the level of effort for physical activity is appropriate for their level of fitness. Those with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their condition could affect their fitness routine and the safety of their activities.

Consult a senior care Richmond VA professional.

When figuring out what works best for you, consider consulting with your doctor, a nutritionist, and a personal trainer. Even if you don’t use their services in an ongoing fashion, it’s a good idea to get an accurate assessment before you begin and a plan for moving forward. There could be dietary or physical restrictions particular to your situation because of a medication or health condition.


¹vitamin B12: On average, Americans ages 50 years and older consume adequate vitamin B12. Nonetheless, a substantial proportion of individuals ages 50 years and older may have reduced ability
to absorb naturally occurring vitamin B12. However, the crystalline form of the vitamin is well absorbed. Therefore, individuals ages 50 years and older are encouraged to include foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals, or take dietary supplements. (The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010)


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