Healthy You in 2022
Carla Hay-Perdue, DNP, APRN, FNP, ANP-BC, NC-BC
Community Education Coordinator/ Family Nurse Practitioner at Palo Pinto General Hospital
December 31, 2021
The life expectancy of an American born today is about 78.2 years. We are amazed when someone (Like Betty White) reaches 100 and can still function mentally and physically. In 2021, seventy thousand Americans will reach their 100th birthday! The determinant factors of whether we reach this goal (or not) are 10% Healthcare, 20% genetics, and 70% lifestyle and environment. Lifestyle and environment have the most to do with it, yet, America spends the most money on healthcare instead. Nine factors have been identified through research on areas with the healthiest aging population. These are:
- Move Naturally
- Have a purpose
- Downshift from stress every day
- Stop eating when you are 80% full.
- Eat a plant-slanted diet. Make fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds the cornerstone of eating. Eat chicken and fish once or twice a week. Beef and pork are for celebrations.
- Wine at 5. (One serving for females 2 for males).
- Belong to a faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t matter.
- Put loved ones first.
- Have a support network of friends.
Success in the lifestyle change department means setting up an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice! We tend to choose what is easy and convenient. Humans are groupies too. The more social support, the more likely to achieve the goal!
Want to exercise more? Being active keeps us alive. Find a buddy or a group. Friends will make it more fun and provide an incentive for those days when it is hard to get going. Put work out shoes, jacket, and maybe the dog leash by the front door so it is a ready reminder to go walking.
Want to eat better?
Clean out your pantry. Get rid of the heavily processed and sugary foods. Having that cookie means getting dressed, going to the store, and buying one. The mood will pass before getting to the store. Have pre-prepared healthy options readily available. Cut up veggies for a snack, or make a pot of vegetable soup to eat during the week. A bowl of fresh fruit on the table is an easy way to keep a healthy snack insight and mind!
Quiet your mind at least every day to stop the whirlwind of personal thoughts that can create stress and anxiety. Set a reminder on your phone that alerts you to stop and deep breathe. Deep breathing is a great way to quiet your mind and de-stress.
Create a restful environment in your bedroom so you can be sure to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep at night. Try for a comfortable temperature, quiet environment, or white noise, keep the bedroom light as low as possible, etc.
Connect with others: Being a part of a community of like-minded people provides a sense of belonging. Stay close to family and friends that provide uplifting, loving relationships. Finally, forgive yourself and everyone around you. We are all doing the best we can, given the situation.
Connect with a purpose and a passion. Find something you are passionate about and pursue it. This is the most essential thing about aging healthily. Learn new skills! Seek freedom and opportunity rather than a job and security (Imafidon, C.) Remind yourself daily about why you get out of bed in the morning and what gets you excited about the day! Having a purpose increases the likelihood of practicing healthy behaviors and experiencing more joy.
Play! Create and celebrate every day! Play and creativity are vital for problem-solving. We did it all the time as kids but somewhere, work, chores, and life got in the way. Play and creativity were perceived as unproductive. Laugh often. Don’t take life too seriously.
Play increases our joy! It boosts immunity, decreases dementia, de-stresses us, and is essential to developing well-being and life satisfaction.
Buettner, D. (2021).
Blue Zone Challenge. National Geographic, Washington DC.
Imafidon C, (2015). 30 Precious bits of life advice from 100-year-olds. Lifehack. Retrieved from: https://www.lifehack.org/306079