By Erica Porter, City Fare
Fall has arrived! So far it’s been quite a year. What lessons have we learned?
That it’s ok, preferable even, to slow down. That family time is important and we need to give quality time to nurture those connections. That our health is perhaps the most crucially important part of our lives.
Fall can be a great time of year to set a personal goal to take control of your health. One of the things that we have the most control over and can easily (or not) change is what we eat. Good nutrition and eating healthy foods can be the best prescription for your health. “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” and “Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly plants,” are popular mantras. Simple, right? Seems not to be, since 42% of Americans are obese. That’s almost half! Do you fall into this category?
Being healthy and well is sometimes not in our control, but we can control what we eat and how much we move.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity – try to get in at least 150 minutes a week. If you prefer more vigorous activity, aim for at least 75 minutes a week. Aerobic activity is not limited to walking or running. It can include dancing, gardening, swimming or cycling. Anything that gets your heart beating faster counts!
Muscle-strengthening activity – Do activities that make your muscles work harder than usual at least 2 days a week.
It‘s important for older adults to also add balance and flexibility exercises, which can take as little as 5-10 minutes a day. Practicing balance exercises such as Tai chi, balance walking, heel to toe walk and standing on one foot holding a chair can help prevent falls, which are a major health risk for older adults. Stretching and yoga can improve flexibility, which increases ease of performing day to day activities.
If this seems overwhelming or too much, choose one thing to try at first. Even 5-10 minutes of an activity is better than no movement at all.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
A healthy eating pattern includes:
- A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other.
- Fruits, especially whole fruits.
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains.
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages.
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products.
A healthy eating pattern limits:
- Saturated fats and trans fats.
- Sodium to no more than 2300 milligrams a day.
- Sugar to no more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons or 6 packets of sugar) a day for women and 39 grams (10 teaspoons or 10 packets of sugar) for men.
If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and health, check out these national, state and local level resources:
- National Council on Aging – Center for Healthy Aging – https://www.ncoa.org/
- Delaware Senior Olympics – For Fitness, Fellowship & Fun – https://delawareseniorolympics.org/
- Zoom Session with Lauren Ronquillo, Registered Dietitian with City Fare, “Eating in Season” on Tuesday, October 13 @ 11 am. Use Zoom Meeting ID: 940 385 5337 Passcode: 3LTAp7