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Flip Unhealthy Lifestyles Way Before Retirement

By Sandy Schroeder

If you are in your 40s or 50s, you may be slowly shedding unhealthy habits, but you may wonder what will happen when you reach your 60s.

Dr. Dana King, West Virginia University professor, was wondering the same thing. He recently did a study comparing the healthy lifestyle rates of retired late-middle-aged adults with rates among those still working.

The study found retired adults were likely to be more physically active, but not good about sticking to the rest of The American Heart Association's cardiovascular targets, which are Life's Simple 7: healthy diet, healthy weight, physical activity, smoking status, total cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure,

Dr. King says we should all be adopting healthy lifestyles sooner to make the best transition into retirement.

Here are seven easy ways to start right now.

Eat a healthy breakfast - Skip the sweet rolls and try a banana smoothie, bowl of old-fashioned oats topped with fruit or a veggie omelet. Reduce sugar in all of your meals and drink seltzer water instead of sodas.  

Walk out of the store with great sneakers - If you are doing it right, those sneakers will never cool off as you start with walks around the block and move on to 30-minute walks at least three times a week. Increase your walking distance 10 percent each week and keep your sneakers in the car or by the door.

Make healthy choices to let go of stress - Use music, hobbies, meditation, exercise or your breath to manage your stress. Avoid using food, smoking or alcohol to solve your stress.

Make your muscles work - Use resistance training with weights, weight machines, or resistance bands. Or try yoga, which uses body weight to exercise muscles. Start wherever you are and bring your strength up to speed.

Check your floor skills - As adults age they need to practice getting down on the floor and standing up again. You can do this at home on carpet or a mat, or practice it as part of a yoga class. You may also get more practice if you play games with your grandkids on the floor.

Improve your balance - Falls happen a lot less when you have a good sense of balance. Make sure yours is good with daily balance exercises and yoga or tai chi classes. To get started, stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 30 seconds. Use a chair or nearby wall if you need some backup.

Look in the mirror and smile - As the years roll ahead, self-doubt and depression can trip us up when we are not looking. They can also undermine our health and steal our joy. Fight back with a few steps. Find ways to be thankful and laugh every day. Make exercise a daily habit to stay upbeat. Reach out to everyone around you and stick with the positive people.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Maple Grove, Minn.

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