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 Smart Spring Break Stay-Cation Idea: Fun With Furry Friends at APA Adoption Center

ttttttumblr_n2r4gqdeib1r3zbhoo3_1280Spring break may prompt thoughts of a beach getaway or an exotic trip but family fun and adventures don’t have to include travel. A “stay-cation” in Saint Louis is filled with wonderful possibilities.

One creative and fun option is the Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA. The APA Adoption Center offers many choices of activities and interactive sessions for kids of all ages.

Parents often get together and plan a joint outing for several families during spring break. This is easily done because the options at APA‘s Adoption Center are customizable and cost effective. There are a variety of classes about animal care, safety, center tours, pet related crafts and interaction with animals mixed with fun and games.

Not all lessons during spring break take place at the Adoption Center. For some youngsters, anticipation of the animal adventure begins days before as they join forces to collect supplies to help homeless pets. These collection efforts can take on the air of a scavenger hunt involving extended family and neighbors. It is a great opportunity to share the joy of volunteering and practice the lesson of selflessness with children. There is a wish list of easy to find items for homeless pets on the APA website.

APA Director of Humane Education Jennifer Blome works with educators and volunteers to deliver fun and meaningful opportunities; “It is more than learning to love and play with animals in the right way. We have a curriculum of age appropriate lessons and activities to engage minds and hearts.”

It doesn’t have to be spring break to take a class. The APA offers birthday parties and other special events customizable for your group. Some of the party details can be found here. 

The APA works year around to educate on the importance of treating each other and animals with compassion and respect. APA presentations are held in the community along with group classes for scout, school and community groups. You can see a list of some program options by clicking here or on the website: http://www.apamo.org/education/group-programs/group-programs-list/

You can sign up for a public class as an individual adult, or bring your child to a family event. For information on upcoming classes and programs through community organizations, email jennifer@apamo.org.

Scheduling a class or event at the APA Adoption Center can be such a rewarding and unforgettable experience; it may become a favorite family tradition. Remember to bring a camera to capture the learning and play of your APA day.

Personalize your visit to the APA of MO for fun, crafts, safety, and more!

Personalize your visit to the APA of MO for fun, crafts, safety, and more!