Healthy to Age 100: 5 Tips from a Top Doctor

Wearable_fitness_JOUR_36253_448800Thinking about improving your health? You might listen to David Carr, M.D., the clinical director for the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science for Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Carr has reviewed thousands of medical studies in his practice and has some positive news about healthy aging: we can achieve significantly healthier outcomes with easy lifestyle changes and less effort than you might think.

“Exercise is number one,” Dr. Carr says. “There are studies that suggest regular physical activity can have positive effects on physical health, quality of life, and cognition. Even as little as 20 minutes of walking a day can yield great benefits.”

Thirty minutes of exercise, 5 times a week, is the minimum bar set by the Department of Health and Human Services.IMG_20151028_113009

It is easy to build up gradually in your regular routine. For example, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the distant side of a parking lot instead of circling until a spot near an entrance opens.

Dr. Carr’s longevity prescription also includes a workout for your brain and social life. “Cognitive and social stimulation are number two,” he says. “There is simply not much stimulation if you stay home alone and watch TV. The brain is like a muscle — it needs to be used, stimulated, and pushed.”

In his medical practice, Carr has found having a “care” is part of the “cure”, because people who have social connections live longer.1000102_10201651982325609_766739615_n

“Interacting with other people in social situations is crucial. It’s also important to keep your hobbies going – board games, puzzles, cards, playing a musical instrument or staying active in volunteer work,” are a few of the suggestions Dr. Carr offers.

caroline-attwood-225496-unsplash - CopyDr. Carr’s number 3 tip is focused on your plate: “A good heart healthy diet will probably also turn out to be great for the brain,” he says. “You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day and consume fish at least a couple of times a week.”

His next tip for living to 100 or more includes regular health checks to catch diseases early when they’re still treatable.

202874“Controlling risk factors for vascular disease is tip number four. We know the number one killer of the brain and heart is vascular disease or atherosclerosis. If you have high blood sugar, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, you should see your family doctor for treatment, and keep those risk factors under control.”

Dr. Carr finds relaxation to be vital. “I’m convinced that high stress levels over a lifetime can have a very negative impact on our organ systems,” he says. “So trying to keep stress under control is probably the fifth leg of the table.”DEYVTHFARF

A Lifetime of Love With The Special Bonds Between People and Pets

Healthy Pets Are Part of Happier, Healthier Families

cropped-img_20180205_011823-1.jpgCompanionship may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a pet. Life with an animal can boost wellness and health too. There is considerable evidence animals can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol and regularly interacting with animals can reduce anxiety and promote calmness. It isn’t just cats, dogs and rabbits offering heart healthy benefits of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels; researchers discovered viewing fish tanks led to noticeable reductions in heart rate and blood pressure too.

Pets are also social connectors for owners acting as a conversation starter. Multiple studies reveal just being in the presence of a pet increases the frequency of social interactions, especially with strangers.ffurriest

Personally I’ve found my pets often provide comic relief from life’s daily stresses. It is the reason animal videos are a top category of viral content every year.

A video captures some of the wonderful things about companion animals in our lives. It is produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the organizer of National Pet Week®. The video and observation celebrates the special bonds between pets and people.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of National Pet Week®, the American Veterinary Medical Association spotlights things every pet owner should consider to ensure that their pet lives the longest, healthiest life possible. Learn more at http://petweek.org

The Centers for Disease Control also emphasizes keeping pets healthy keeps people healthy too. Visit  https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/ for resources.pup_kiss_StockSnap_HMOI9OUX4J

National Pet Week® is observed the first full week in May. Created in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Pet Week® is dedicated to celebrating America’s more than 200 million pets that enrich our lives each and every day and encourage responsible pet care every day of the year.

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