The topic of World Health Day in 2012 is Ageing and health with the theme "Good health adds life to years". Staying healthy amidst the busy lives we lead these days is becoming a bigger challenge for all of us, whatever our age, however as we age engaging in regular physical exercise will enable us to continue performing everyday tasks with ease. In addition to physical exercise both good food choices and mental wellbeing are important in the quest to remain healthy.
The Department of Health recommendation for physical exercise is to do 150 minutes a week moderate intensity activity which can be broken down into 30 minutes on 5 days of the week. That 30 minutes can be broken down into smaller 10 minute segments and this would still be beneficial. Housework and gardening unfortunately don't count, thanks to inventions such as hoovers, modern irons, dishwashers and washing machines housework isn’t the heavy work that it used to be. Whilst weeding is better than sitting down in front of the TV, it isn’t enough by itself. Walking is an ideal activity, it’s free and requires no special equipment. For those who are currently sedentary then start off with a walk to the shops or round the park, as a rule for walking, if you can’t have a conversation you are going to fast, if you can sing a song you are going to slow. Other ways of raising the heart rate would be swimming or cycling or even knee raises in a chair. Find something enjoyable to do and you are more likely to continue that activity. If possible add some resistance work as well. The benefits of resistance work include the ability to move weight around such as climbing stairs and a decreased risk of fractures.
Changing diet and eating more healthily is easier to accomplish if it is done in small steps, that way the changes are more likely to be long-term. Add a salad to the meal, drink water instead of soft drinks, change pudding to fruit. Ensure a mixture of five fruit and vegetables a day are eaten, it doesn’t necessarily need to be fresh. Frozen, dried, tinned (try to buy the ones without added sugar), stewed and juiced (but only the first glass) all count towards the 5 a day.
Feelings of wellbeing, positivity and happiness with life contribute to being healthy. Find time for you each day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Read a magazine, drink a cup of tea in silence, go outside and get some fresh air. Value, accept and like yourself as an individual, no-one is perfect. Finally just smile, it’s hard to be in a bad mood if you are smiling, try it and see!
Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.