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Healthy Habits at Any Age

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Healthy Habits at Any Age
Healthy Habits at Any Age

People with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to make healthy food choices, exercise regularly, lose weight, and stop smoking. These behaviors are considered lifestyle choices and are the foundation of our preventive health efforts. It’s interesting to think about these habits as they relate to our age and how they may change over time as we get older.

Here are some of the healthy behaviors I think are important for us to incorporate at different ages.

For people in their 20s and 30s

  • Make healthy food choices by learning how to grocery shop and cook.
  • Continue the habit of engaging in regular physical activity; exercises may change from team sports to individual activities.
  • Achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Follow weight-gain guidelines during pregnancy (25-35 lbs.).
  • Breastfeed, if possible.
  • Lose any weight gained during pregnancy.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Model healthy eating and fitness habits for your children.
  • Identify a primary care doctor, eye doctor, dentist, and diabetes doctor, and have the recommended check-ups.

For people in their 40s and 50s

  • Continue to make healthy food choices, or improve on them.
  • Continue or begin a regimen of regular physical activity.
  • Achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Make time for yourself, not just for your spouse, children, and aging parents.
  • Have regular check-ups with your endocrinologist and certified diabetes educator; have annual physicals and begin preventive screenings, as recommended.

For people in their 60s and over

  • Aim for nutritious foods with lower calories.
  • Explore physical activities that you enjoy and adapt these to any limitations; add light weight training to help maintain muscle mass.
  • Avoid weight gain; if overweight, lose 7-to-10 percent of excess.
  • Manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Have all recommended medical check-ups and screenings.
  • Be a role model for healthy behaviors for your grandchildren and share your wisdom.
  • Stay active with family, friends, and your community.

Each age has unique challenges, with differing responsibilities. However, we need to focus on our diabetes care at all ages. When we build healthy habits in our younger years, we will have a good foundation, as well as the skills to help us as we get older.

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