by Carol Higgins Taylor
Eastern Area Agency on Aging
So we are a couple of days into the New Year. Traditionally it’s a time when we make great big plans to get in shape mentally and physically.
Well, with years of broken resolutions behind me, I’m finally over the grandiose schemes. So, this year I suggest a much smaller scale, taking things slowly and easily all the while hoping the little lifestyle changes stick.
Losing weight and in better shape always tops the resolutions chart. Think about adding a couple of servings of fruit or vegetables to your daily diet. Blueberries on cereal, bananas and peanut butter on toast, or a glass of orange juice are all doable. If you have never tried a smoothie, this is the year to do it. All you need is a blender, some plain yogurt for calcium, some fruit. I add kale too but it is an acquired taste. And there you have it: a fabulous drink. Once you start making them don’t be surprised if you keep experimenting with different ingredients.
When thinking about starting an exercise routine, try to find a program that increases balance and strength. There are classes, such as Matter of Balance and Growing Stronger, offered through Eastern Area Agency on Aging that can help. Ask your healthcare provider for advice on getting in better shape.
And let’s not forget water. If you’re not a heavy water drinker, six to eight glasses a day, which is often the recommended amount, may seem impossible. But think about drinking a glass before each meal and one between meals. Seniors are at particular risk for dehydration so please heed this advice. And remember that other fluids count so have some skim milk and juice. Your smoothies will help, too.
Quitting smoking is another popular resolution and a tough one. Pledging to never smoke another cigarette again is a lofty goal and may work for some people. But quitting is hard and sometimes phasing out a habit is easier than going cold turkey. While everyone who smokes should stop, how to quit is a very personal decision and should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Here are some other resolutions which may help make your new year better:
• Make surrounding yourself with positive and encouraging people a priority. Enthusiasm is contagious but so is negativity, so avoid it.
• Take your medication as your doctor ordered. Ask questions if you don’t understand something your medical provider said.
• Learn about depression. If you exhibit any symptoms at all, call your doctor. Depression is treatable so pledge to seek help if necessary.
• Prevent falls by removing scatter rugs, making sure stairways are well lit and keeping pathways clear. And be careful of carrying lots of stuff around to “save a few steps.” If you must take more things from one place to another, think about loading up a canvas grocery bag with said stuff. It will be easier to carry that way and will help you avoid dropping things or worse, falling.
• Learn or do something new. Take a class, perhaps with Senior College, find a hobby or volunteer some of your time. This could be your year to make a difference.
And one last resolution to think about. Be good to yourself every day. Treat yourself as you would your best friend. You deserve it.
Carol Higgins Taylor is director of community education at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, or go to EAAA.org.