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Healthy aging starts with healthy living

A healthy lifestyle is something every age group should use.

But according to Heather Freemont, regional director of operations at Maplewood, which has locations throughout Ohio; Dr. Reuben Goebezie, founder of Regen Orthopedics; and Kari White, clinical director at Menorah Park’s home health department in Beachwood, aging adults see great benefits from healthy living.

The three professionals noted various lifestyle changes can work wonders on a boomer’s health.

“Diet and exercise in an aging adult’s overall health are huge,” White said. “The saying goes you are what you eat and that doesn’t change as you age. In fact, it becomes more important as we get older. Exercise not only keeps us active, but it improves one’s mood, helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps the heart strong.”

During Goebezie’s career as an orthopedic surgeon, he’s noticed a pattern in his patients. Those who keep moving and eat well, do the best, he said.

“Whenever I look at someone going through the decades of life, whatever we can do to keep that person moving, that’s great,” he explained. “Diet, how you sleep and how you move are important. Those three categories form the foundation of how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and good health as you age.”

Freemont added, “Recent studies are now finding that exercise is the greatest action you can take to help with the aging of the mind. We have known for years and through many studies that it is proven that exercise helps ward off physical diseases and conditions as well.”

Adults also should track sodium, calorie and sugar intake due to the risk of heart conditions.

“Studies have shown that maintaining regular physical activity can help prevent many common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,” Freemont noted. “The healthier the diet, the better fuel the body has to keep the immune system working at full force.”

White added, “So, as you get older, you develop a weakened heart muscle because you’re not doing the exercise to keep it strong or eating the right foods. That could put you into a situation where you can develop a chronic condition like congestive heart failure.”

White also noted many aging adults don’t understand the amount of salt that comes from their favorite foods.

One’s chances of being healthy decreases with age. Goebezie noted many times health problems are unavoidable.

“One of the biggest factors that none of us can do anything about is genetics,” he said. “It’s an important part of your health and your age but you can’t do anything about it. Some of my patients who are the most diligent, they’re still not healthy because their genetics are bad. Sometimes it is out of your control.”

When it comes to getting back in shape, Goebezie said the journey starts with sleep.

“The key is figuring out your body’s natural challenges to sleep and how you’re going to figure out a way to rest,” he explained. “There are different techniques to use for that. But, whatever it is, you need to make sure you’re also actively involved in giving your body rest.”

But the professionals had advice for aging adults struggling with their health.

“The number one thing that can make the most difference is establishing a good relationship with your primary care physician and seeing them regularly,” White suggested. “As you get older, you should be following up with your PCP every six months. Also, take recommendations from your doctor seriously.”

Freemont said, “Make an effort to exercise daily. Utilize your mind daily. Simple things that you enjoy (are) the best way to guarantee you are consistent.”

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