Along with taking your medication as prescribed, some lifestyle habits can help manage your risk and help you live a longer, healthier life like watching what you eat, getting more exercise and managing stress.
Make Healthy Menu Choices
A healthy eating plan is a well-rounded diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables (at least 4-5 servings each day). In fact, researchers at the University of Columbia found each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 4% lower risk of coronary heart disease and a 5% lower risk of stroke.
Other smart choices for your menu include nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean proteins and fish. Limit sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and fatty or processed meats.
You likely know exercise is good for you, but an Oxford University study revealed simply swapping 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity can reduce your risk of death by 17%. Mortality aside, in its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted physical activity offers numerous benefits to improve health, including a lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression.
The greatest impacts come from getting the recommended amount of activity: at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination of those activities per week. Be sure to discuss with your doctor which activities may be best for you.
If you're having trouble getting motivated, small steps like walking your dog can lead to big changes over time. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association on pets and heart-health showed dog parents are more likely to reach their fitness goals than those without canine companions.
Constant or chronic stress can have real consequences on both emotional and physical health. In fact, research shows chronic stressors like long work hours, financial stress and work-life conflict may be as risky for health as secondhand smoke, according to a report by the Behavior Science and Policy Association.
Aside from the direct toll on your body - including elevated risk for heart disease and stroke from high blood pressure, depression or anxiety - stress can lead to unhealthy habits like overeating, physical inactivity and smoking.
Exercise is an effective way to keep your body healthy and release stress. You might also consider incorporating meditation and mindfulness practices into your day to allow yourself a few minutes to distance yourself from daily stress.
Research compiled by the American Heart Association suggests meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, support the immune system and increase your ability to process information.
Another powerful tool to fight depression, anxiety and poor sleep, according to researchers at the University of California-San Diego, is practicing gratitude or thankfulness. Start by simply writing down three things you're grateful for each day.
Learn more about managing your cholesterol and habits to protect your heart health at heart.org/cholesterol.
How a Major Health Event Can Reveal Unknown Risks
Before his stroke, Lee Stroy, a father of five, considered himself to be a healthy person.
"My gauge of being 'healthy' was my ability to wake up in the morning, get to work, take care of my family and live another day to do it again," Stroy said. "That is, until I couldn't."
In December 2014, Stroy woke up disoriented and scared after suffering a stroke at just 38 years old. He quickly discovered he had undiagnosed hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.
"It surprised me to learn there are often no visible symptoms for high cholesterol until a heart or stroke event," Stroy said. "Unfortunately, I was not diligent about my annual check-ups, so my health setbacks provided me with a huge wake-up call."
Stroy decided to take control of his health and this marked the beginning of a major lifestyle transformation.
The first change was quitting smoking. Next, he began incorporating exercise into his daily routine, initially with simple exercises from occupational therapy. Eventually he worked up to walking several miles a day. Stroy also gradually made changes to his diet and went from being a meat eater to vegan. He also attends regular doctor's visits to keep tabs on his progress.
"While it was no easy feat to make such drastic lifestyle changes, they are now second nature," Stroy said. "Don't put off or be afraid to go to the doctor. You could catch something early and be able to make changes that save your life."
The Franciscan Center presents “Aging Gracefully”, a six series Zoom program beginning January 13th. Sign up for one or all of the series at www.franciscancentertampa.org. Each program is $15.
Aging Is Not for Sissies
Thursday, January 13 from 2-4 p.m
Maureen Connors, Ph.D.
Bette Davis said it best! As we age, we realize more and more that aging requires a renewed grace and courage. Certainly, these past two years have required us to be anything but “sissies”.
How do you stop yourself from being a “sissy” when you are in pain, lonely, or experiencing some other dark emotion? What helps you be brave?
How Do We Truly Age Gracefully?
by Berkley Badger
You hear the headlines….........
But what does this actually mean to your financial future and investment results?
Blame Covid or profligate Washington spenders or our country’s loss of its moral compass… Regardless, our Federal Reserve has been doing the
“unthinkable” for nearly a decade.
History tells us that any country living beyond its means needs to fund that excess spending by selling bonds (Government IOUs). But the current policy of our Central Bank and others have stretched “bad policy” to “deplorable policy.”
For when there are not enough willing global and domestic buyers of Uncle Sam’s IOUs, the Federal Reserve has filled the shortfall – to the present tune of $1.5 trillion per year.
Where do they get the money to buy all the debt? They literally create the fiat currency by declaration – grossly expanding money supply faster than Organic GDP (economic growth). This is untenable and never ends well…!!!
Higher inflation with higher interest rates find blistering bond-holders and truncating stock market valuations ensuing… ergo, tough-sledding for the markets, which have generally risen nicely over the past few decades.
Wise investors shift their risk onto others… i.e., instead of buying bonds directly, buy a fixed annuity. The money you deposit shall still principally go toward high-quality Corporate-bond purchases, but the annuity company takes the risk while you get interest returns rivaling the banks!
The same technique can be implemented to shift stock market risk to an annuity company as well… where one enjoys a percentage of the market gains but suffers no loss in years where the market actually declines.
Don’t be a hero in the face of rising interest rates, especially during a sea-change where rates have been declining while margin debt (as well as household debt) has increased dramatically.
Major debt (the result of stock investors borrowing money using the securities as collateral) is at record levels – closing in on $1 trillion. This is called “margin” debt.
If the market declines enough to trigger margin “calls,” more securities shall hit the market to pay for the margin calls. Any willing buyers will demand cheaper prices – pushing the market even lower – triggering fearful responses from others who remember the 1987, 1999, 2008, and 2009 crashes!
Where the stock market actually peaked in 2007, it would be another 4 ½ years (to get through the crash) before prices would fully recover. “Yeah, but it always recovers!” While this would be true… it all comes down to how much time you’re willing to wait.
If we were slurping noodles and sucking down sake in Tokyo right now, we would still be lamenting the fact that the Japanese (known for their high savings rate) stock market is only 80% of where it peaked “32 years ago”! Will it ever regain its 1989 high? Maybe in another 18 years or so – meaning one would have to wait half-a-century to get back to even.
Most people blindly risk what becomes ever more difficult (by virtue of age) to recover.
Be wise. Take some chips off the table – opting for higher-yielding guaranteed-deposit accounts with liquidity, which normally beats bank CDs. We can show you how.
Berkley Badger, host emeritus of America’s longest running financial broadcast, has been assisting investors for over four decades. His trusted advice has benefited scores of Floridians to re-align their portfolios into safer alternatives. Call him today @ 727-796-3339.
Office 813-693-5511 Kevin Leonard