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Making the most of your Golden Years

Don’t fall for the myth that aging automatically means you’re not going to feel well anymore. It’s true that with aging come many changes, but getting older doesn’t have to mean discomfort, disability and depression. Many of the challenges associated with aging can be minimized by eating right, exercising the mind and body and taking good care of yourself. To make the most of the golden years, practice these healthy habits:

Eat Well
As you age, healthy eating is more important than ever to maintain your energy and health. Whether you live alone, with your spouse or loved one or at an assisted living facility, enlist the help of a registered dietitian or nutritionist. These specialists can help you learn more about healthy eating, food shopping, assistance programs and nutrition-related health subjects.

• Eat fiber-rich foods. High-fiber foods such as whole grains, fruit and vegetables will help you feel more energetic and give you fuel to keep going.
• Drink plenty of fluid. Because of physical changes, older adults are more prone to dehydration. If you’re not getting enough water, your energy will suffer.
• Eat twice as often, half as much and chew twice as long. Eating mini meals rather than a few big meals improves nutrient absorption, lessens heartburn and helps weight control.
• Make meals a social event. Studies show that people who eat with family and friends tend to eat more balanced meals. It’s also much more enjoyable to eat with others than alone!

Stay Active
Exercise is vital for healthy aging. It helps you maintain your strength and agility, boosts your mental health and confidence and can even help reduce chronic pain. Staying active in Aventura and Sunny Isles is easy to do.
• Check with your doctor. Although it’s never too late to begin an exercise program, check with your doctor before starting.
• Go for a walk. Walking is one of the best ways to stay fit. Walk around your block, the park or mall. During the winter season, join the free walking club that walks for an hour every Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m., at Town Center Park.
• Take an exercise class. The Active Adult classes offered by the City of Aventura include yoga, body sculpting, Zumba, Fit for Life, Strength Circuit and ballroom dancing. Grab a friend and get moving. Looking for a tennis partner? The Free Adult Tennis Clinic is a great way to meet new people.
• Avoid injury. If you are new to exercise, start slowly to avoid injury and build a healthy habit.

Stay Connected
Staying connected isn’t always easy – even for those who have always had an active social life. It’s important to connect to others. Loneliness and isolation are major threats to aging well.

• Be a social butterfly. Spend time with people you enjoy doing things that make you feel upbeat. Try attending a free Sunny Serenade Concert at Samson Oceanfront Park on designated Wednesday evenings during the spring, fall and winter. You’ll enjoy good music and good company.
• Go on adventures. Attend a religious service, go to a book club meeting or visit the library. The City of Aventura Active Adult Programs offers exciting trips and tours to South Florida attractions, including Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Broward Center for the Performing Arts and Festival Flea Market.
• Take a class. Studies have shown that stimulating the mind every day is critical to overall health. The City of Aventura Active Adult classes include Mahjongg Mania, bridge, knitting and introduction to computers.
• Make new friends. As you lose people in your circle, it’s vital to make new connections. Connect with others through the Aventura Express, which can take you to points of interest like Aventura Mall, the Community Recreation Center, Aventura Arts & Cultural Center and the library.

Take Good Care
Healthy aging happens when people seize the opportunity to be in control of their health and health care. The area’s reputable hospitals and healthcare providers offer primary care medical services for the prevention and treatment of all medical conditions.

• Get regular check-ups. Talk with your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms and complications. Review your medication list every time you visit your doctor and be sure to follow doctor’s orders.
• Control your weight. Weight control may be harder as you get older, but staying at a healthy weight helps you prevent diabetes and heart disease.
• Address your pain. There’s no need to live in pain. Talk to your doctor about managing it with movement, therapy and medication. Physical therapists can help you heal from an injury or surgery.
• Attend free health screenings and lectures. Mount Sinai Medical Center offers free blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose screening the second Thursday of each month, 9 a.m.-12 noon, in the Sunny Isles Beach Government Center. The hospital also offers various educational health lectures that help keep you up-to-date.

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