The B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County encourages all adults 50 years and older to develop behaviors that are crucial to healthy aging, including healthy eating, increasing physical activity and social interaction.
Adults 50 years and older currently make up more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, and by 2015, are expected to represent 45 percent of all Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults 50 and older have a 70 percent chance of developing at least one chronic disease. While these numbers seem daunting, the good news is that making small lifestyle changes that include increasing physical activity, eating healthier and staying active socially can help older adults live better.
“As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, it’s the Y’s responsibility to find ways to serve our aging population, not only for the health of the individual but for the overall health our community,” said Dee Dee McDevitt, VP Membership & Marketing, B.R. Ryall YMCA. “Adults 50 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the Y and the B.R. Ryall YMCA offers a number of options to help them live healthy, connected and fulfilling lives.”
The Y offers many ways for active older adults to live healthier including a wide variety of group exercise classes, some geared specifically toward Active Older Adults, water exercise classes, potluck gatherings, social groups, community events, volunteer opportunities and more. There is a group of women that have been enjoying the Y for decades. They gather almost daily to enjoy rich conversation and deep friendships after a good workout. They say if they don’t come to the Y on any given day, they just don’t feel right. They credit the Y to being healthy and feeling complete every day.
Additionally, the Y offers the following tips on how to jump-start your healthy-living routine:
1. Have fun with your food. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Have fun with your fruits and vegetables by trying them fresh, frozen or canned. Find a new recipe that uses a different source of protein or find a way to incorporate fish or beans into an old favorite. Remember as you age, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meats to help your body get the necessary nutrients.
2. Fill up on fiber and potassium, hold the salt. As you age, your body needs more fiber rich foods to help it stay regular. Aim for a variety of colorful foods on your plate (i.e. fruits and veggies) to keep fiber rich foods a part of your diet. Additionally, increasing potassium along with reducing sodium or salt may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium.
3. Tweak your routine. To get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, change your routine to 10-minute sessions throughout the day. For example, stand on one foot while brushing your teeth to increase balance, and do squats while washing dishes to increase strength. To increase your cardio, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther from the entrance to work. When sitting in front of the TV, march during commercials or do some light stretching to break up sitting for long periods.
4. Get social. Socialization is an important part of aging. As we get older, it’s important to be active socially to stay healthy. Take a walk with a friend or a neighbor, join a book club or volunteer at your local pet shelter or local Y. Being connected to the community keeps you healthy!
5. Take a snooze. It’s important to get seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to keep you healthy. A lack of sleep has been associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. To help get those necessary hours of sleep, leave mobile devices in another room, not in the bedroom. Digital distractions can disrupt your sleep.
For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit www.brryallymca.org.
About the Y
The Y is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization. The B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County strengthens the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. For more information, visit www.brryallymca.org.