Actions to Take to Be Healthy All Year Long
Aging Matters

It's difficult to believe that a new year has crept up on us again. However, it feels more like it slammed against us with little warning, don't you agree? But for many of us, we may look forward to a fresh start. With every new year, some of us may ask, "Is there anything I can do to help to make my new year healthy and happy?"

You could be on the right track now, but feel you'd like to take it up a notch to make it your best. If you're doing your best now but feel something is missing, check out the following tips that can make a big difference in your life, even though they are small.

Pay attention to attitude

If you maintain a positive attitude, studies confirm that happy people get sick less often. Stress and feelings of "in the dumps" lead to illness, but in the large part, right attitudes protect us from major chronic diseases like heart trouble, diabetes, and potentially cancer as well. Bottom line--put your energy into staying healthy.

Tips to stay healthier

  • Laugh more often - research shows that it can lower stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. The results offer an improved resistance to fight illnesses. Laughing triggers endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals which promotes an overall sense of well-being.
  • Eat right - consume more veggies and fruits and increase those rich in fiber. They will reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.Visit the doctor and the dentist regularly -- the dentist visits will ensure your mouth is as healthy as possible, while regular exams with your doctor helps identify risk factors and problems before they become severe.
  • Get plenty of sleep - a restful slumber makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond boosting the mood. Adequate sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.Go outside and get some sun - sunlight equips the body with vitamin D3 that can last throughout the winter, it boosts the production of vitamin D, which leads to higher serotonin levels.
  • Limit your alcohol intake - cutting back on alcoholic beverages can help your general well-being and you'll notice feeling better in the mornings. And you'll gain more energy as well.
  • Don't over indulge - studies show that a reduction in calorie intake stimulates longevity.
  • Read more - it's good for the brain. Plus, studies show that reading keeps you mentally stimulated and slow the progress or even prevent Alzheimer's and dementia.Stay connected with good friends - friendships Increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boosts happiness, and reduces your stress.
  • Drink more water - it helps keep the body hydrated, which is essential to every cell. The body needs water to function properly.Get exercise - regular fitness decreases the risk of strokes and heart disease. And a stronger heart equals better circulation.

Be happy!

The tips should be easy to follow through. Make them a habit, and you'll obtain a higher quality of life.

Happy New Year! Carol Marak, aging advocate, columnist, speaker and editor at She earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from USC Davis School of Gerontology.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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