AARP Weekly Tips

AARP St. Louis - Real Possibilities

AARP is passionate about helping our St. Louis members and all Missourians 50+ live life to the fullest. We work on important issues like health care and financial security - and we like to have fun too! We’re proud to help the St. Louis community become the best it can be. We invite you to find out more about what we’re doing in your community by visiting aarp.org/stlouis. AARP in St. Louis – Living Actively. Connecting Locally.

CHECK BACK FOR WEEKLY HEALTH TIPS!

Week 1: Build Healthy Habits

Happy New Year! We are fortunate to say those words again. And we have all heard the slogan “New Year. New You.” And that’s right, 2019 shouldn’t be any different when it comes to setting new goals and finding ways to engage in healthier habits throughout the New Year.

The Small Changes for Health Program helps you to meet your goals one day at a time. One of the goals of the program is helping you to live your best healthy-lifestyle today! Unapologetically! Maybe you are wanting to exercise more, eat healthier, improve your finances, or decrease stress. There is a tool that can help you build healthy habits in 2019. This tool is your smart phone.

Your smart phone comes with many features that can help you stay on track with your 2019 Small Changes goals. It has apps that can help you track your fitness, diet, and finances, just to name a few. To learn more about this amazing tool, read AARP’s article, “How Your Smart Phone May Help You Keep Your Resolutions”. Research says, that doing something for 21 days straight will aid you in forming a new habit. Having the motivation to live healthier gets you started. Habit keeps you going.

AARP in St. Louis is all about Living Actively and Connecting Locally. Visit www.aarp.org/stlouis to learn about our healthy activing living activities in your community.

Week 2: Combatting Exercise Boredom

You have been implementing changes to your diet and workout. However, now you may start to wonder, what can I do to mix up my exercise routine? The feeling of boredom and exercise fatigue could start to develop. And the one of reasons that you decided to go on this Small Changes journey is so that create a lifestyle change.

Here are some tips to recharge your exercise batteries that will ensure that you keep moving!

  1. Add variety to your routine. Instead of always working out on the treadmill, maybe use the elliptical or a different piece of equipment to.
  2. Try a group class. Adding a fitness class like Zumba, Cross Fit, or Turbo Jam will definitely add variety to your routine. The music that is played in these classes will rejuvenate your spirits and inspire you to want to keep moving.
  3. Have a friend join you. Our friends can be some of our biggest cheerleaders. Implementing the buddy system can help keep you focus and accountable to your workouts.

Needing some exercise variety for when you are unable to make it to the gym? AARP’s Health Ambassador, Denise Austin has a variety of exercise videos that you can do in the comfort of your home.

So don’t stop moving! Add more variety! Excitement awaits!

Week 3: Rethink What You Drink

Making healthy lifestyle changes can be overwhelming. There are a lot of things for a person to consider changing. The changes can range from what to eat, how to exercise, and what to drink. When it comes to what liquids we should fuel our bodies with, a lot of health experts will recommend water. Of course that should be the natural drink of choice because the average human adult body is made up of 50 – 60% of water, and we need water to help replenish our bodies.

However, what are you supposed to drink if your thirst is not quite craving the taste of plain H2O (water)? Sometimes you may reach for a nice sugary beverage. That could consist of soda, flavored teas, juices, or alcoholic beverages. Health experts will say that having a healthy non-water beverage is okay, as long as it’s in moderation. But what are you to do if you just can’t make the shift to non-sugary drinks? You can learn the facts about sugary drinks. Knowing the facts may help shift your beverage choices when getting something to drink. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a good resource for educating yourself about sugar-sweetened beverages and consumption. Click here to learn more about what the CDC has to say.

If you’re looking for ways to decrease or stop drinking soda, then read 5 Tips to Kicking Your Soda Habit on aarp.org.

Finally, if you are looking for new ways to start moving, AARP hosts a variety of active healthy-living events in St. Louis. We invite you to join us later this year for Boomers and Bikes or Trail Trekkers! For more information on these and other AARP activities in your community, visit aarp.org/stlouis. We look forward to connecting with you!

Week 4: How to Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables into Your Diet

The recommended amount of fruits an adult should consume in a day is 1.5 to 2 cups.
The recommended amount of vegetables is 2 to 3 cups per day. The health benefits of
eating fruits and vegetables can lower your risk for certain types of preventable
diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.
Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet can also help with weight loss.

The colors of fruits and vegetables provide health benefits to the body. When you are
shopping in the produce section at the grocery store, do not be afraid to try the more
colorful items. You may choose the purple grapes over the green grapes, or you may
decide to have both! The University of California Berkeley Wellness website has an
article that discusses “The Benefits of Colorful Produce”. Reading this article will
educate you about the nutritional value of red, orange, blue, yellow, and other colors of
fruits and vegetables.

Now that you have taken the time to fill your fridge with all of these nutritious and
colorful fruits and vegetables, you may be thinking “How do I incorporate these foods
into my daily meal plan”? The American Heart Association has provided the public with
a guide on “How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables”. This article gives simple steps on
how to eat a fruit and vegetable at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Hungering for more knowledge? Enjoy these articles from AARP.org: “Purple Reign
and “Eat Red for a Heart Healthy Diet”.

The Healthy Living section on AARP.org has a great recipe tool that will help you find
recipes that use fruits and vegetables.

Needing a healthy-living activity to combine with your new health-eating lifestyle?
Visit aarp.org/stlouis to join us at an upcoming community event!

Week 5: Creating Balanced Meals

Eating balanced meals that contain the five food groups (dairy, protein, vegetables, fruits, and grains) requires planning. Vegetables and fruits help to build the foundation of eating a healthy diet. But you can’t live on produce alone. How does one go about creating meals that has an item that represents each food group?

The article Create a Plate of Healthy Food that Nourishes the Bodyon AARP.org, provides you with the steps and resources to help you with your meal planning needs. After all, eating a healthy and balanced diet is key to maintaining good health.

If you haven’t joined AARP in St. Louis at one of our community activities, visit aarp.org/stlouis to learn about our upcoming events.

Week 6: Good Sleep Hygiene

Most of us have heard growing up that it is important for us to go bed in timely manner so that we will feel rested in the morning. As we age, we may feel that our body doesn’t require a lot of sleep in order for us to be healthy. But that is not the case. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an adult between the ages of 25 – 64 needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

Follow these simple healthy sleep tips and you will be ensuring that you are getting enough sleep and keeping the pounds at bay.

  1. Develop a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  2. Exercise daily.
  3. Make sure the temperature in your bedroom is comfortable.
  4. Turn off electronics before bed.
  5. To learn more about how you can improve your sleep hygiene, read the article “The Science of Sounder Sleep” on aarp.org. It’s full of helpful tips that will help you create your sweet dreams plan!

AARP in St. Louis offers a variety of healthy lifestyle activities! We believe in Living Actively and Connecting Locally in our communities! To learn more about AARP in St. Louis upcoming events visit aarp.org/stlouis.

Week 7: Vary Your Protein

The Small Changes for Health program, is a journey that empowers a person to explore new health possibilities for oneself. So far throughout this journey you have started getting the proper amount of rest, added a cross-training activity to your workout, and trying new fruits and vegetables! This week, we would like for you to work on adding types of protein to your food diet.

Some times when we are working on eating healthier, we can tend to stick to the same menu items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We will tell ourselves, that we are going to have eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken salad for lunch, and grilled salmon and vegetables for dinner. After a week of eating the same foods, we can become bored, and slowly start reverting back to our old eating habits. We have already discussed how to increase your fruits and veggies. And discussed the health benefits the colors of fruits and veggies can provide. Well protein isn’t any different. You can get the daily recommended amount of protein from more than just meats and fish.

In the article “Why Eating a Variety of Protein Sources Matters”, it explains what protein is comprised of and the difference between and non-complete proteins. The article provides a good base for someone who is looking to expand their protein consumption outside of eating meat.

If you’re wondering how much protein you should be eating after the age of 50, then read “How Much Protein Do You Need After 50?” on AARP.org.

The Healthy Living section on AARP.org has a great recipe tool that will help you find recipes that allows you to explore cooking with different types of protein sources.

Needing a healthy-living activity to combine with your new health-eating lifestyle? Visit aarp.org/stlouis to join us at an upcoming community event!

Week 8: Allow Yourself to Unwind (Stress Relief)

We are all living busy lives and there are a lot of things vying for our attention. May it be family, friends, or work; there is a never ending to-do list. Sometimes things can become overwhelming and your heart rate and blood pressure may start to rise. When one or both of the described start to happen, you may be feeling stressed out. Stress can cause adverse effects to our bodies and it affects each of us differently.

Stress can lead to ulcers, heart disease, or having a stroke. According to the American Psychological Association and American Institute of Stress, this is how Americans are showing up regarding stress:

  • 40% of Americans say they lie awake at night because of stress
  • 52% of Americans are worried about their health
  • 70% of Americans are stressed about work
  • 76% of boomers are worried about money
  • $300 BILLION: The annual cost to businesses due to employee stress

So how can we combat stress? First we need to acknowledge that we are stressed. Second, we need to take a deep breath and then exhale. Third, we need to engage in a relaxing activity that calms us such as dancing, yoga, or meditating. If these ideas are too complicated, then simply go on a walk. Do whatever it is that allows your mind to calm down and forget about the pressures of the world.

To learn more about the health benefits of meditation and stress relief read Meditation: Not Just for Yogis on aarp.org.

AARP St. Louis offers a variety relaxing activities visit www.aarp.org/stlouis to find the activity that’s right for you!