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updated: 7/23/2012 5:13 PM

Advocate Good Shepherd doctor offers tips on remaining healthy over 60

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Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

If you are an older adult over the age of 60 and wondering what you should be doing to stay healthy … the answer is exercise. The key to living a long and healthy life requires a committed lifestyle of physical activity, a healthy diet and checking in with your doctor.

Physical activity improves your mental and physical wellness. Exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week helps manage your stress levels, prevents bone loss and improves blood circulation minimizing the risk of heart disease. For each hour of regular exercise you get, you'll gain about two hours in additional life expectancy, according to the American Heart Association.

Be sure to start your exercises off slowly in a manner that is fun, suitable and comfortable. Engage in repetitive activities that test the circulatory system by stretching, lightly lifting and walking. Walking leisurely is an activity you can participate in at your own speed and schedule. Finding a companion makes for a motivational and more enjoyable experience.

Along with physical activity, creating a healthy eating plan is important to protect your heart, and prevent the risk of America's number one killer, heart disease. Foods low in saturated fats, trans fats and sodium are vital for improving heart health. In order to avoid anemia, make sure iron intake is adequate by eating lean meats including poultry, fish, eggs and nuts. Another great addition to a healthy eating plan should include fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber to better digestion.

In addition to maintaining a healthy eating plan, be sure to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis. Make sure to keep glucose at healthy levels. Be sure to schedule a cholesterol test to examine whether your cholesterol levels are too high increasing the risk of heart disease. If you are overweight, have a family history of heart disease, or high blood pressure a blood test is vital to your health. It is important to visit your doctor annually for check-ups, tests and screenings.

Staying healthy over the age of 60 requires some work but you can extend your longevity by adapting a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise, healthy eating and visiting your doctor annually.

Dr. Seng Leong, M.D. practices internal medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and a member of the Advocate Medical Group. He attended medical school at the University of Singapore and completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. He is a member of Advocate Physician Partners. Dr. Leong has a practice in Barrington and can be reached at (847) 381-5800.