Be physically active. Walking briskly, mowing the lawn, playing team sports and biking are just a few examples of how you can get moving. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity for most days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts are good, too. Try to eat foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
Maintain a healthy weight. Try to balance the calories you take in with the calories you burn with your physical activities. As you age, eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity. This will prevent gradual weight gain over time.
Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all. Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, you do not exceed two drinks per day for men (one drink per day for women). Do not drink alcohol if you plan to drive, operate machinery or take part in an activity that requires attention, coordination or skill; if you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol or if you have a specific medical condition.
Don’t smoke. Smoking affects your bones, eyes, heart, lungs, muscles, skin and teeth as well as your hearing, immune system and weight. While not all the effects of smoking are reversible, quitting can help your body begin to heal and can lead to improved health. Find smoking cessation resources at smokefree.gov and quitlinenc.com.
Take aspirin to avoid a heart attack. Men over 45 who smoke or have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or family history of heart disease are at risk for a heart attack. Check with your doctor and find out if taking aspirin is the right choice for you.
Source: “Stay Healthy.” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.