Growing Old Not Growing Sick

The goal of successful aging is not immortality, but to spend less time in illness and disability.

 

As we age the 4 most common ailments we face are:

  1. Decline in cardiovascular health,
  2. Decline in cognitive health,
  3. Cancer,
  4. Depression.

The American Heart Association has established a Cardiovascular health metric: Life’s Simple 7, an easy to track metric that scores cardiovascular health. The ultimate goal is a score of >6 for greatest reduction in risk of common diseases such as heart disease, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism.

 

Life’s Simple 7

  • Level of physical activity (>150minutes/week of moderate to intense physical activity)
  • Non-smoking status
  • BMI (<25kg/m2)
  • Healthy Diet
  • Fasting blood glucose level (<100mg/dl)
  • Cholesterol levels (<200mg/dl)
  • Blood pressure (<120/80 mmHg)

 

These factors are associated with the Big 4. The most difficult goals to achieve are a healthy diet and optimal physical activity. Yet attainment of both usually results in attainment of >6 of 7. To increase success in both areas a sensible plan is needed.

Educate yourself on what a healthy diet is. Avoid fads, instead adopt permanent changes. A plant based diet is the bedrock of a consistent, healthy eating plan, and it eliminates many of the pitfalls and challenges “dieting” is filled with.

Establish a daily physical activity plan that keeps you constantly in motion throughout the day. You are more likely to be successful if you plan to keep moving throughout the day than you are to go to the gym for an hour a day.  Avoid setting goals you know you are unlikely to achieve, e.g. promising to run when you hate running. Walk instead of drive, take the stairs instead of the elevator, carry your groceries instead of placing them in a cart.

These goals have no expiration date, they are meant for everyone, young and old, and it is never too late to start.

To your perfect health,

Abi Faloye, M.D.

 

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