If you quit smoking and get rid of your other bad habits, can you repair the damage? Yes! to a surprising degree. Here are some tips to help stack the odds in your favor so you won't end up in a nursing home. People who engage in healthy habits stay sharper mentally and have significantly less disease and disability in their later years.
The sooner you start, the more you'll benefit not only living longer, but also living better able to do more things you enjoy, with fewer aches and pains, even if you have arthritis. There are only 3 things to remember ...
You are never to old to start!
You are never to old to start!
You are NEVER to old to start!
Start today tomorrow NEVER comes!
Quit smoking NOW and permanently. Your risk of dying suddenly begins to drop within the first few weeks. Over time, quitting will greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. And, you'll become less likely to get the flu or pneumonia, or to develop breathing problems.
A personal note from our President who smoked 2 packs a day for 39 years. "Zyban immediately eliminated all of my cravings for cigarettes. When I quit, the only thing I had to do was break the habits I associated with smoking. After countless attempts to quit, I was amazed as how easy it was to stop smoking. And, I've honestly not wanted a cigarette since I quit in 1998."
Note #1: Zyban is available only by prescription from a doctor. However, Zyban may not appropriate for you, especially if you take other medications. Interactions with other medications can reduce its effectiveness.
Note #2: Many other methods can be used to quit smoking. But, they all have one thing in common to be successful, YOU must truly WANT TO QUIT. (Wouldn't you like to begin feeling better in just a few weeks?)
For more help, click on tips to quit smoking. You will also find more information on the Quit Smoking page in our Resource Directory.
Exercise. The only kiss of death is being sedentary. Period! It's really that simple. Start exercising moderately (almost any moderate physical activity counts) and do it consistently. Whether you want the benefits of fitness walking or other exercises, do it now. The best exercises? The ones you'll do on a regular basis. For more information, we have two pages about Senior Exercises Which ones are best? and Tips for Success.
Eat right. Reduce saturated fats, trans-fatty acids and sodium (table salt). Increase your fruits, vegetables and high-fiber grains. It's easier than you think. Eat right for your type of body. For more information, visit our page, One Serving Exactly how large is it?
Watch your weight. If you are 30 pounds or more overweight, you have a substantially higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, gallbladder disorders, several types of cancer, breathing problems, asthma, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. For more information about the ideal weights for seniors (they're more liberal than you might think), click on height weight chart to visit our Healthy Weight page. Also check out Weight Watchers for their food points calculator, free daily recipes, hundreds of other delicious, healthy new recipes, a guide to eating out, personalized meal plans, and much more.
Drink in moderation. If you're not an alcoholic, you're not pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and you don't have liver problems, it's probably safe to drink in moderation. For a woman, that's one mixed drink, one beer, or one glass of wine a day for a man, it's two mixed drinks, two beers, or two glasses of wine a day. Be careful about drinking if you take certain prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, including Tylenol and its generic equivalents.
Take it easy. Learn to control your anger, reduce the stress in your life, and adopt a positive attitude. Don't worry about things you can't do anything about the "what ifs"... it's a waste of energy. Instead, take charge of your life concentrate on the things you can do something about. But, don't try to do everything at once. You'll have a much greater chance of success if you divide your goals into small steps that you take one at a time.
Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
And dance like no one is watching.
Keep involved. The more you lie around or sit in front of the TV, the more likely you are of feeling tired no energy, just the blahs. If you want to perk up, get up and try something different. If you need a reason, here's a good one older adults who spend time in social activities community affairs, volunteering, playing cards with their friends, etc. live longer than those who don't. Harvard researchers found that seniors who play cards, eat out, go to movies and take part in other social activities, live an average of 2 1/2 years longer than their reclusive counterparts.
Get regular checkups. While you can do many things on your own to improve your health, get your doctor involved too. Have a checkup every year find problems at the early stages when they're most treatable. And, don't accept the common belief that loss of sight, hearing loss, memory loss, confusion, incontinence and depression are normal aspects of getting older they aren't. With your doctor's help, they are usually treatable conditions. (Tip: Before each doctor's visit, write down your questions; your doctor will be happy to answer each and every one.)