Diet and exercise are the two most important changes you can make. Even if you’ve never been active, it’s never too late to get started. A healthy diet and physical activity are good at any age. As you age, these healthy habits strengthen muscles and bones. Strong muscles and bones reduce serious injuries related to falls. When your muscles are strong, activities like getting up from a chair or opening a door are easier. When lifting weights, start with a 1-pound or 5-pound weight. If you don’t have weights, use a can of soup, a book, or a full bottle of water. Keep your weights in the same room as your television. Do a few exercises while you watch.
You don’t have to change your diet all at once. Try making 1 small change at a time. For example, instead of eating 2 slices of white toast for breakfast, replace 1 of them with a slice of whole grain bread. If you drink orange juice every day, eat an orange 3 days a week instead. Eat whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice. If you like salty snacks, try low-fat popcorn instead of potato chips.
Exercise can improve chronic diseases, such as diabetes. It also can improve your emotional outlook. A healthy diet and exercise help feed your brain. This improves your decision-making abilities as you get older.
Things to consider
Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your muscles will likely be sore when you first increase your physical activity. But don’t consider that a reason to stop. Mild soreness will go away in a few days as you become more used to exercise.
How active you are and what you eat are habits. Adopting healthy habits can be tough at first. By starting small and rewarding yourself for each step you take, you can make a difference in how good you feel. You may find it easier to be more physically active and eat more fiber if you think of every day and every meal as a chance to do something good for yourself.