For those seeking longevity, healthy choices are essential
By Lauren Glendenning
Editors note: This content is sponsored by Steamboat Emergency Center
Diet, exercise and regular visits with your primary care provider are some of the ways to live longer, healthier lives
Steamboat Emergency Center sees middle-aged and elderly patients often for accidental falls, sports-related trauma, shortness of breath, chest discomfort and fatigue, but many of these emergencies can be prevented.
“Ultimately preventing these medical conditions with a whole food diet and regular exercise is the best way to avoid these issues as we age,” said Dr. Dallas Bailes, medical director and owner at Steamboat Emergency Center.
Educating yourself about common disease processes, risk factors and preventative measures can provide endless benefits to your health, said Dr. Matthew Freeman, assistant medical director and owner at Steamboat Emergency Center. Here are some of the things Bailes and Freeman think are important to remember as we age.
Understanding fall prevention has never been more important, Freeman said. It’s essential to wear the appropriate footwear, respect wet and icy conditions, use railings while on stairs and move at a slower, more controlled pace to decrease the frequency of falls.
For sports-related injuries, Freeman said you should take the time to regularly check equipment, know your physical limitations and always wear helmets and other protective gear.
More than 95 percent of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can be avoided with diet and exercise alone, Bailes said.
“People who suffer from those conditions are often able wean off their medications by eliminating refined carbohydrates from their diet, eating largely only whole foods, and incorporating a regular exercise regimen into their life,” he said.
Those who suffer from shortness of breath or chest pain may have other conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, altitude illness or anxiety.
“Establishing a continual relationship with a health care provider can lead to early recognition of these conditions and help prevent future consequences,” Freeman said.
Remaining physically active, eating a well balanced diet, staying adequately hydrated and knowing your own limitations are extraordinarily important lifestyle choices, Freeman said.
“As the body ages, metabolism slows, joints degenerate, vision fades, and memory often suffers,” he said. “For these reasons, all would benefit from working hard to preserve our abilities by creating healthy and safe habits as soon as possible.”
Healthy habits love company
Communities play a huge role in shaping our behaviors, Bailes said. In some regions, it’s perfectly acceptable to smoke cigarettes and drink 10 or more sugary beverages per day.
“In those communities, obesity and heart disease is seen in young people at levels we have never seen before in history,” he said. “In communities where whole food diets and regular exercise are the norm, levels of obesity and chronic illness are very low.”
Freeman added that surrounding yourself with people who share the desire to live a healthy lifestyle helps us find meaningful inspiration to live healthy lives.
Regularly visiting a primary care provider
Primary care providers can offer guidance and support on our continuous journey to practice healthy habits. Freeman said visiting a primary care provider once or twice per year offers a great opportunity to educate ourselves about the ways of preventing illness.
“Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider, even at a young age, is what I feel is most important,” Freeman said. “Learning ways to better maintain our bodies and having a provider who knows you well can make all the difference.”
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