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By Carol Marak - Aging Matters

It’s time to take steps to ensure that your fall season is safe with these tips from the Center for Disease Control.

It’s time to turn the clock back, which makes for shorter days. And as the days get shorter and cooler and the leaves change color, “fall” into these 11 healthy habits that help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

People who developed good healthy habits when they were younger will become healthy seniors. But don’t regret the past unhealthy decisions. Start now to make up for the mistakes. Good health habits can make a difference even to seniors who are prone to illness or have not made their health a priority in the past.

Quit smoking — Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support. If you quit cold turkey, about 90% of people who try do it without outside support — no aids, therapy, or medicine. However, only about 5% to 7% are able to quit on their own.

Eat healthy — feast on more fruit and vegetables. As one ages, the digestive system slows down. So it’s important to eat high-fiber foods and whole grains.

Get moving and stay active — Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Exercise alleviates depression and improves energy and memory. An exercise program approved by a physician, long walks or short strolls can keep seniors healthier longer.

Drinks — Substitute water for sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe.

Keep your teeth healthy by brushing twice daily and cleaning with floss. See your dentist every 6 months for cleanings and check-ups.

Get free physicals and check-ups when you sign up for Medicare. After that first year, you receive free annual wellness visits. Visit your doctor regularly for preventive services like cancer and diabetes screenings.

Sleep at least 7 hours each night.

Talk with your doctor about your family health history.

Older adults who wear eyeglasses should have the prescription checked every year for changes and the eyes screened for health issues.

Stay socially active with family and friends.

Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds.

Stay mentally healthy — do crossword puzzles, read and write and try new hobbies to stimulate the mind and engage with the world. Activities like these ward off a decline in mental health.

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By Carol Marak

Aging Matters

Carol Marak, aging advocate, She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

Carol Marak, aging advocate, She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.