Vitamins, exercise & a nutritional diet – what do you need to stay healthy as you age?

(ROCKWALL – ROWLETT – October 1, 2013) We celebrated Healthy Aging Month in September, but no matter what time of year it is, it’s important highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy body as one grows older. Proper vitamins and an active lifestyle can help mature adults focus on the positive aspects of aging. Dr. Denise Johnson, family medicine specialist on the medical staff at Lake Pointe Medical Center in Rowlett, Texas answers a few questions about what an aging body needs.

Q.  What foods should be included in your diet to prevent health complications most commonly associated with old age?

Over time, bad eating habits can cause serious health issues, like high blood pressure and diabetes.  For overall good nutrition, read food labels, pay attention to portion size and avoid a diet high in salt. Try to eat low-fat dairy products and 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables daily for fiber and minerals. Leafy greens, nuts and citrus fruits are also excellent sources of B and C vitamins, which play a key role in body functions like healing and the creation of healthy tissue as the body ages.

Q. How important are vitamins in the process of aging?

Vitamins are small chemicals that are needed to keep you healthy. Although many will take multi-vitamin tablets daily, multi-vitamins should be consider primarily for those with risk of poor absorption – those with alcoholism, vegans, dialysis patients or people who have had bariatric surgery.  However, the mature adult may need multi-vitamins regardless of diet as aging, medications and chronic illness may affect vitamin absorption.  If one decides to take multi-vitamins, avoid “mega” dosages because it may cause more harm than good. Ultimately, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can provide your body with the vitamins necessary to keep you active and mobile well into old age.

Q. What type of exercise is most beneficial to an aging body?

The best exercise is the kind you are willing to do!  Any exercise is better than no exercise at all. As one matures, aerobic capacity and muscle strength declines.  Exercise can increase flexibility, conditioning and mobility. The American Heart Assoc (AHA) recommends various types of activity related to four general areas – aerobic exercise, strengthening, flexibility and balance training.  Physical activity 30 – 60 minutes most days of the week is often recommended.

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