In honor of Active Aging Week 2019, we are thinking about all aspects of health and how tending to our physical needs can keep us going strong throughout our lives. One of the hardest-working muscles in your body – your heart – has a significant impact on the functionality of the body’s other organs. Your brain relies on your heart to deliver a continuous blood supply, so the healthier your heart, the lower your risk of developing dementia and heart disease. You can improve both your heart and your brain with just a few simple changes.
Stick to a Healthy Diet
Eating clean, nutritious meals is one of the best things you can do for your body and your mind. Those who maintain a healthy diet typically have lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Foods that are good for both brain and heart health include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat and fish. Limiting trans and saturated fats is another beneficial change you can make for your overall health.
Let Yourself Indulge
While we still recommend moderation when it comes to sweets, letting yourself indulge in treats like dark chocolate can offer your heart some benefits. As long as the dark chocolate is high in cacao content (and low in added sugar), consuming it in moderation offers a good source of antioxidants, lowers your risk of heart disease and increases blood flow to the brain.
Sitting is the new smoking, according to a study performed by the Mayo Clinic. While it may sound like an extreme claim, it holds true. After just 30 minutes of sitting, our body’s metabolism slows down by 90%, good cholesterol drops by 20%, and we become more likely to develop high blood pressure and blood sugar.
Moving for just five minutes after 30 minutes of sitting can greatly improve your health over time. This small amount of movement will help protect your muscles from deteriorating, increase your energy and assist you in keeping off unwanted weight.
The next time a friend or family member suggests you get together, say yes. Studies show that routinely interacting with friends and loved ones can improve your physical health by strengthening your immune system and fighting off common sicknesses. While all social interactions can improve your health, face-to-face interactions are best. QCBN
By Nicholas Brown
Nicholas Brown is a kinesiologist and certified fitness professional as well as manager of the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club. Membership is open to anyone 50 years old and older, and guest consultations are available to meet with a professional to cater a program to an individual’s needs. To reach Brown or for more information, call 928-708-3133.