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Holiday Health for Seniors

For seniors, the holiday season can bring a long list of health risks. A few simple changes in diet and behavior can prevent long-term health effects and make for a healthy New Year.

During the holiday season seniors may experience stress in addition to having little physical activity. Adding this to a “holiday diet” that includes too much rich
food, it may increase their risk of hypertension and other heart related health
issues.

We advise seniors to take time to relax between family gatherings. Lack of rest
may increase the likelihood for stress-induced heart problems, including high
blood pressure. Consider the following stress management tips:

  • Set aside an extended period of time to rest every day
  • Take breaks for deep-breathing exercises
  • Increase your physical activity

Even a relatively small amount of physical activity can improve heart health. We
encourage seniors to take walks (inside or outside) and participate in other simple
forms of exercise.

As for diet, it’s important for seniors (even more than the rest of us) to avoid
overindulging in high-fat, sugar-laden treats. One way to avoid overindulgence
is by eating small, healthy meals throughout the day. Healthy diets include
recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables to give the body what it needs to manage stress and illness.Limiting sodium intake to 2/3 teaspoon of table salt or 1500 milligrams per day is another way to maintain a heart healthy diet, as is choosing foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.

Too often, the holiday season leaves us all – but seniors in particular -- feeling
exhausted, unhealthy and unmotivated. However, being mindful of a few simple rules about healthy choices that include rest, exercise and healthier eating, will not only lead to more enjoyable holidays, but will also set the tone for a less stressful and healthier New Year.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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