People of all ages can benefit from healthy habits such as regular exercise and good nutrition.
Exercise and Physical ActivityExercise has proven benefits for older people. It reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, colon cancer, and breast cancer. It also decreases the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.
Like the rest of us, older people may know that exercise is good for their health, but they may not have the motivation or encouragement to do it. You can guide your patients by asking about their daily activities and whether they engage in any kind of regular exercise or physical activity.
There are several ways to encourage older patients to exercise:
Too Old to Exercise? Studies Say ‘No!’
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1600 Clifton RoadAtlanta, Georgia 30333800-232-4636 (toll-free)800-232-6348 (TTY/toll-free)Healthy Aging: www.cdc.gov/aging/index.htmPhysical Activity: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/index.htmThe CDC has resources on nutrition and physical activity for older adults. The Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity addresses how healthy eating habits and exercise can improve the public’s health and prevent and control chronic diseases.
Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) National Agricultural Library10301 Baltimore Avenue, Room 105Beltsville, MD 20705www.nal.usda.gov/fnicThe FNIC website provides over 2,000 links to current and reliable nutrition resources.
National Institute on Aging (NIA) Information CenterP.O. Box 8057Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057800-222-2225 (toll-free)800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformationExercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging, www.nia.nih.gov/Exercise, shows older adults how to start and maintain a safe, effective program of stretching, balance, and strength-training exercises.
National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity & AgingFlorida International UniversityUniversity Park OE 200Miami, FL 33199305-348-1517http://nutritionandaging.fiu.eduA group serving nutrition programs funded by the Older Americans Act, the Center aims to increase food and nutrition services in home- and community-based social, health, and long-term-care systems serving older adults. Link to the program “Eat Better & Move More.”
NutritionOlder patients may develop poor eating habits for many reasons. These can range from a decreased sense of smell and taste to teeth problems or depression. Older people may also have difficulty getting to a supermarket or standing long enough to cook a meal. And although energy needs may decrease with age, the need for certain vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamins B6 and B12, increases after age 50.
Try these strategies to encourage healthy diets:
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