The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - R12
BY JESSICA WRIGHT
Follow these five tips on how to take care of
yourself before and after retirement.
Work it Out
Not only does it stink and cause discoloration of your
teeth, smoking is just down right bad for you. Period.
It can damage the heart, raise blood pressure, cause
buildup of fatty plaque and cause cancer. Even if you've
been smoking for years, cessation at any age can be
Staying active is so important for retirees; you don't want
to fall into a habit of just sitting around now that you're
no longer working. If you've been working out regularly
before retirement, keep it up. At least 30 minutes of exercise per day is recommended, whether it's walking,
running, lifting weights or a rotating combination.
Know Your Numbers
Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol, blood sugar and
blood pressure numbers are important to monitor on
a regular basis. Numerous websites, such as bmi-facts.
org, have BMI calculators available to help you check
if you are within a healthy weight range. A 25 to 29.9
BMI is overweight; 30 or higher is obese. Both of these
categories put you more at risk for heart disease, high
blood pressure and stroke.
After age 20, doctors recommend a simple blood
test to screen cholesterol levels. A healthy total cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL or lower. If you are diagnosed
with a high cholesterol, doctors or a dietician may suggest foods such as oatmeal, fish and walnuts to help
lower it to a healthy level.
Seniors should have a fasting blood sugar level test at
least once a year. Levels higher than 100 mg/dL may put
you at risk for developing diabetes, which in turn may
lead to other health issues, including high cholesterol
and high blood pressure. Doctors recommend a change
in lifestyle - diet and exercise - to maintain or return
to normal blood sugar levels.
Lifestyle changes may be in order as well if you have
high blood pressure. A normal level is 130/90 mmHg
or less. To prevent high blood pressure, limit your intake
of salt, caffeine and alcohol.
New to exercise? Consult your physician first to find
out what type of exercise plan is right for you. You'll
want to start off slowly, such as a five-minute walk
around your neighborhood, then gradually work your
way up to a 30-minute regimen.
A healthy diet is essential to your well being throughout
your whole life. Doctors suggest avoiding fad diets - as
they can deprive your body of important nutrients -
and simply sticking to healthy servings of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, all of which are high
in fiber. Other good-for-you options include chicken,
egg whites, white-meat turkey, low-fat yogurt and fish.
And be sure to limit your intake of sweets.
Exercise Your Mind
Just like the rest of your body, the brain needs exercise
to stay healthy, too. Give your brain a regular workout
by doing activities such as reading a book, playing a
board game or working crossword puzzles. Remaining
socially engaged with family and friends helps maintain
the brain's vitality as well. You may even want to pick
up a new hobby or take a class to learn something new.