March is National Nutrition Month, and Lovelace Medical Group hospitalist Dr. Harkesh Arora has tips for you and your family on how to live a healthy life all year long!
“Fruits and vegetables, brown rice and oatmeal, protein, healthy fats, like nuts and avocados, and water are essential for a healthy diet,” Dr. Arora says. She also warns about dehydration, and says it can cause fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps. Keeping a refillable water bottle with you can help you remember to drink enough and stay hydrated.
But nutrition isn’t just about your diet; exercise is also important for people of all ages. Dr. Arora recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, and says, “Staying healthy is especially important as we age, since older adults are at greater risk for complications from illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. While you can't change genetics or family history, there are things you can do to help prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.” Her exercise tips include:
- Set achievable goals to help you stay motivated and track your progress. Start small and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
- Choose activities you enjoy and you're more likely to stick with it.
- Incorporate strength training to help build muscle and improve bone density. It can also help with weight loss and reduce the risk of injury.
- Find a workout buddy to hold you accountable and also make exercising more fun!
- Listen to your body. If you experience pain or discomfort during exercise, slow down or take a break. Pushing through pain can lead to an injury.
Dr. Arora says nutrition and exercise are important throughout our life: “Children develop their eating patterns early in life. These early years are an opportunity for you to teach them healthy habits that will stay with them as they get older.” She also says older adults are at a greater risk of complications from illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. Regular healthy eating and physical activity can help prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.