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What You Can Do Now to Improve Your Health </h1> </div> <p class="attribution" id="byline"> Written by Erica Manfred | Published on <meta content="2012-10-05" itemprop="datePublished"/>October 5, 2012<br/>Medically Reviewed by <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/medical-board">George Krucik, MD </a> </p> <div class="hl-widget-sharebar c"></div> <div class="sharebarContainer"><a class="link-sharebar" href="#overlaySharebar" id="sharebarLink" rel="#overlaySharebar"></a></div> <div class="dotted-line"></div> <div class="text-resize"> <a class="text1 selected" href="#text1" id="text1">A</a> <a class="text2" href="#text2" id="text2">A</a> <a class="text3" href="#text3" id="text3">A</a> </div> <div class="box-byblock-shadow"></div> </header> <div class="grid648"> <div id="fb-root"></div> <script>window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '1529595680591919', xfbml : true, version : 'v2.1' }); }; (function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> <div class="container-article" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/Article"> <div class="textBlock c " id="toptoc-full-content"> <div class="article-body c" itemprop="articleBody"> <div class="box-img-thumbnail-article-container "> <div class="box-img-thumbnail-article"><img alt="" class="img-thumbnail-article" itemprop="image" src="http://www.healthline.com/hlcmsresource/images/topic_centers/medicare/194x105-Heading_for_Retirement-What_You_Can_Do_Now_to_Improve_Your_Health.jpg"/></div> </div> <p>We all know we’re supposed eat our fruits and vegetables, stick to low-fat foods, lose weight, and stay fit, but there are other ways to improve your health as you age. Here are some other tips that you may not have considered.</p> <p><strong><A id="hllink12" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise">Exercise</A> above the neck as well as below</strong>. Keeping the <A id="hllink22" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/brain">brain</A> active and fit is imperative to the health of older adults. Not only does it stave off <A id="hllink36" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/memory-loss">memory-loss</A> illnesses like Alzheimer’s and <A id="hllink34" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia">dementia</A>, but it also fosters executive function. Work out your brain by learning a new language or doing crossword puzzles, or come up with memory games such as recalling five red objects you saw on a walk when you get back. Don’t avoid technology. Figuring out your computer or smart phone is a fun way of keeping your brain tuned up—and your grandchildren will think you’re cool. </p> <p><strong>Pole-walk</strong>. Purchase walking poles and use them for your daily walk. Walking poles (also called trekking poles) are similar to ski poles but are made for walking. They allow for more balanced mobility and engage the muscles of the upper torso, increasing upper-body strength and cardiovascular endurance.</p> <p><strong>Floss like your life depends on it</strong>. Actually, it does. Studies have shown that the more of your own teeth you have after age 55 the longer you will live. Periodontal disease, which is rampant in older adults, causes a host of life-threatening ailments from <A id="hllink93" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease">heart disease</A> to stroke.</p> <p><strong>Don’t dine alone</strong>. People who share meals with others eat less than those who eat alone. This is an easy weight-loss tactic and one that fosters social interaction and engagement. And not only does it help people eat less, older adults who eat with others tend to eat a more balanced diet, which improves their nutrient intake.</p> <p><strong>Keep making new friends</strong>. People with strong social connections live longer and are less vulnerable to the <A id="hllink112" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/depression">depression</A> and loneliness that may come from having an empty nest or losing a spouse. </p> <p><strong>Take a different route</strong>. Staid routines limit brain stimulation. Change the times you habitually do things. Try new foods, visit places you have never been, volunteer at a food pantry, write your memoir. </p> <p><strong>Don’t ignore your <A id="hllink143" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/workplace-health/if-you-work-on-your-feet">feet</A></strong>. As people age, the fat pads on the bottoms of their feet compress, causing fatigue and pain. If your feet hurt, you’re less likely to walk or do aerobic exercise. Wear supportive shoes or foot pad inserts for better stability and comfort. You can also try socks that have extra padding and a wicking agent to keep your feet dry and comfortable. If your feet still hurt, visit a podiatrist and ask about orthotics. </p> <p><strong>Stand on your head</strong>. In addition to exercises that build strength and improve flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, make sure to add balance activities to your daily routine. Good balance requires maintaining a center of gravity over the base of support. Tai chi, <A id="hllink187" class="hllink hllink-auto" href="http://www.healthline.com/health/everyday-fitness/yoga">yoga</A>, hiking steeper terrain, and water exercises all enhance overall balance. </p> <p><strong>Go dancing.</strong> Older adults who get regular physical exercise are 60 percent less likely to develop dementia. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and releases a protein that strengthens cells and neurons. Dance involves all of the above, plus the cerebral activity involved in learning and memory.</p> </div> <div class="box-pagination c"> <ul class="list-pagination c"> <li class="list-item-pagi" id="btn-previous-page"> <a class="anchor-pagi" href="#"><img alt="Previous page button" class="icon-list-item-pagi" height="14" src="http://www.healthline.com/resources/healthline/images/pagi-prev-big.v1.20141209121224.png" width="9"/></a> </li> <li class="list-item-pagi btn-page">1</li> <li class="list-item-pagi" id="btn-next-page"> <a class="anchor-pagi" href="#"><img alt="Next page button" class="icon-list-item-pagi" height="14" src="http://www.healthline.com/resources/healthline/images/pagi-next-big.v1.20141209121224.png" width="9"/></a> </li> </ul> </div> <div class="box-share-help-feedback c"> <div class="row12"> <div class="span5"> <div class="box-article-helpful"> <div class="box-helpful-question"> Was this article helpful? <span class="helpful-option-yes">Yes</span> <span class="helpful-option-no">No</span> </div> <div class="box-helpful-confirmation"></div> </div> </div> <div class="span3"> <div class="box-link-feedback"> <span class="icon-email"></span> <a class="link-feedback" href="#feedbackOverlay" id="feedbackLink" rel="#feedbackOverlay">Feedback?</a> </div> <div class="overlay-simple overlay-feedback" id="feedbackOverlay"> <div class="overlay-content"> <div class="box-form-feedback" id="feedbackformdiv"> <form action="/v2/widgetemail" id="feedbackform"> <input name="to" type="hidden" value="hrl"></input> <input id="urlfield" name="urlfield" type="hidden" value=""></input> <h2>Send us your feedback</h2> <p class="box-message">We are unable to respond directly to questions, but your feedback is greatly appreciated, and will be taken into account in our ongoing review of our Health Reference Library.<br/></p> <p> <label>Your Name:</label><br/> <input class="field-name" id="nametext" name="nametext" placeholder="Name Here" type="text"></input> <span class="box-msg-error" id="box-msg-name"><span class="icon-error">✖</span> <span id="errorMsgName">Please enter your name</span></span> </p> <p> <label>Your Email:</label><br/> <input class="field-email-address" id="feedbackemail" name="emailaddress" placeholder="name@example.com" type="email"></input> <span class="box-msg-error" id="box-msg-email"><span class="icon-error">✖</span> <span id="errorMsgEmail">Please enter your email</span></span> </p> <p> <input id="copy" name="copy" type="checkbox"></input> <label>Send me a copy</label> </p> <p class="box-textarea"> <textarea class="field-message" cols="60" id="feedbacktextarea" name="messagetext" rows="4"></textarea> </p> <div class="textarea-char-count" id="charcount">0</div> <p class="box-buttons"> <button class="btn-cancel" name="feedbackcancelbutton" type="button">Cancel</button> <button class="btn-send-msg">Send Message</button> <span class="box-loading"><img alt="" src="http://www.healthline.com/resources/base/images/ajax-loader.gif"/></span> </p> </form> <p class="box-privacy"><span class="icon-lock"></span> Email addresses will not be shared with 3rd parties. See <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/privacy-policy" target="_blank">privacy policy</a></p> </div> <div class="box-thankyou" id="thankyou"> <h2><span class="icon-green-checkmark"></span> Thank you.</h2> <p>Your message has been sent.</p> </div> <div class="box-submit-error" id="submissionerror"> <h2>We're sorry, an error occurred.</h2> <p>We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.</p> </div> </div><div class="overlay-footer"> <div class="overlay-close">Close</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="row12"> <div class="span12 hl-article-references"> <div class="hl-article-source"> <hr class="hl-references-line" style="width:100%;"/> <p class="hl-references-title"><a href="#"><span class="view-references-title">Show</span> Sources</a> <span class="hl-hide-show-icon hl-icon-down-arrow"></span></p> <div class="hl-references-body"> <div class="basesources"> <ul><li>Buchanan, P. (2012). Interview by E Manfred [Audio Tape Recording]. Wellness expert for Front Porch, provider of retirement living communities in Southern California. </li><li>Toscano, DDS, N. (2012). Interview by E Manfred [Audio Tape Recording].</li></ul></div> </div> </div><!-- end of article source block --> </div> </div><!-- row12 --> <div class="toc-content-promotion"> <!--hl-linking-ignore-start--> <div class="overlay-content-promotion"> <div class="content-promotion-header"> <div class="triangle"></div> <div class="content-promotion-title"> <p class="content-promotion-title-text">Recommended for You</p> </div> <div class="content-promotion-close"><a class="link-close-overlay-content-promotion" href="#"></a></div> </div> <div class="content-promotion-stories"> <div class="content-promotion-story click-link" data="/health-slideshow/what-medicare-does-doesnt-cover"> <div class="content-promotion-title">What Medicare Does and Does Not Cover</div> <div class="content-promotion-image"> <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/what-medicare-does-doesnt-cover" title="What Medicare Does and Does Not Cover"><img alt="What Medicare Does and Does Not Cover" src="http://www.healthline.com/hlcmsresource/images/110x90_What_Medicare_Does_Doesnt_Cover.jpg"/></a> </div> <div class="content-promotion-text"> <div class="content-promotion-disclaimer">Medicare pays for many of your health-care needs and expenses—but not everything. 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if( $('.fb-view-comments-bar').hasClass( 'open' ) ) { $('.fb-view-comments-bar span.fb-view-comments-arrow').removeClass( "hl-icon-right-solid-arrow" ).addClass('hl-icon-down-arrow'); $('#fb-view-count').hide(); } else { $('.fb-view-comments-bar span.fb-view-comments-arrow').removeClass( "hl-icon-down-arrow" ).addClass('hl-icon-right-solid-arrow'); $('#fb-view-count').show(); } if($('#fb-view-count').html() == ' ()') $('#fb-view-count').hide(); }); } }); }); </script> <script> require(["jquery","base/overlay","base/feedback"],function($,AppOverlay){ var onBeforeLoadFunc = function() { $('.hl-main-content').css('z-index','auto'); $('#feedbackformdiv').show(); }; var cfgOverlay = { selectorValue: 'feedbackOverlay', maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: "center", left: "center", close: ".overlay-close", onBeforeLoad: onBeforeLoadFunc }; AppOverlay.initialize(cfgOverlay); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery', 'base/content-promotion-widget'],function($, AppContentPromotion){ var config = { contentPromotionParam: '', platformPageType: 'regularArticle' }; AppContentPromotion.initialize(config); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery', "base/dfpmanager", "base/responsive-ads"],function($, AppDfpmanager, AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if wsl ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true, adRBTimeDelay = 300; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['997','768','600','480','320']; isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("WSL",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); // isHideWSLOnPageLoad: true isAdOnPageLoad = false; adRBTimeDelay = 0; var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'otherseniorhealth,senior_health,2795421', k1 : 'otherseniorhealth', k2 : 'seniorhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'wsl', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : 'Heading for Retirement What You Can Do Now to Improve Your Health ', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/medicare-what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-health'), yeildex : 'true' , targetsrc : '' }; var wsltimeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.wslIframeInit(cfgDfpManager); var dfpAdBodyWSL = document.getElementById("DFPAD_WSL").innerHTML; var doneWSL = false; if (dfpAdBodyWSL.indexOf('817-grey.gif') > 1) { document.getElementById("ads-box-header-wsl1").style.display = "none"; } }, adRBTimeDelay); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> u_microsoft_adunit_channelids = "" microsoft_adunit_channelids = ""; document.write('<input id="msftChannelIds1" name="msftChannelIds1" type="hidden" value="'+microsoft_adunit_channelids+'">'); require(['jquery',"base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ // determine if mr1 ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("MR1",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var adSize = '300x250,300x600'; if(matchMedia('only screen and (max-width: 600px)').matches) { adSize = '300x50,300x250'; } var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', adSize: adSize, dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'otherseniorhealth,senior_health,2795421', k1 : 'otherseniorhealth', k2 : 'seniorhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'mr1', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : 'Heading for Retirement What You Can Do Now to Improve Your Health ', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/medicare-what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-health'), yeildex : 'true', targetsrc : '' }; var mr1timeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.mr1IframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }, 300); }); </script> <script> require(["jquery","base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if mr2 ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['997','768','600','480','320']; var isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("MR2",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'otherseniorhealth,senior_health,2795421', k1 : 'otherseniorhealth', k2 : 'seniorhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'mr2', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/medicare-what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-health'), yeildex : 'true' , targetsrc : '' }; AppDfpmanager.mr2IframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> require( [ "jquery", "base/overlay" ], function( $, AppOverlay ) { var onBeforeLoadFunc = function() { $('.hl-main-content').css('z-index','auto'); $('#sitepopupdiv').show(); }; var cfgOverlay = { maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: "center", left: "center", close: ".overlay-close", onBeforeLoad: onBeforeLoadFunc }; AppOverlay.initialize( cfgOverlay ); $(document).trigger( 'overlay_init' ); $(document).ready( function() { var idSitePopupLink = $( '#sitePopupLink' ); var overlayPageURI = encodeURI( "\u002fhealth\u002fmedicare\u002dwhat\u002dyou\u002dcan\u002ddo\u002dto\u002dimprove\u002dyour\u002dhealth" ); idSitePopupLink.click( function() { HL_ga_sendTrackEvent({ gaEventCategory : 'Any Page', gaEventAction : 'pop-up-overlay:', gaEventLabel : overlayPageURI }); }) }); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery', 'base/image-gallery', 'base/dfpmanager', 'base/overlay', 'require.dust!resources/base/js/templates/image-gallery', 'lib/dust-helpers-1.1.1', 'jquery-ui', 'j/jquery.cookie', 'lib/date'], function($, AppImageGallery, AppDfpManager, AppOverlay, ImageGalleryTemplate){ var configAdPositionsToHide; var addAdPosition = true; var pageAdPositionsToHide = ['wsr']; AppImageGallery.initialize({ imageGalleryName : '', adRBTimeDelay : 300, adPositionsToHide : pageAdPositionsToHide }); var onBeforeLoadFunction = function(){ $('.hl-main-content').css('z-index','auto'); $('#hlImageGallery').show(); }; var configOverlay = { maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: 'center', left: 'center', close: '.overlay-close', onBeforeLoad: onBeforeLoadFunction }; AppOverlay.initialize(configOverlay); }); </script> <script> var isWslAdDisplayed = true; var isArticleHelpful = true; // check if adPositionsToHide from Config file is not empty for current partner // if true, then get values // then compare values to this page adPositionsToHide // - add new ones from config file to this page var configAdPositionsToHide; var addAdPosition = true; var pageAdPositionsToHide = ['wsr']; // page type specific ads to hide if( !isWslAdDisplayed ) { pageAdPositionsToHide.push('wsl'); } require([ 'base/article', 'base/overlay', 'base/article-common', 'matchmedia', 'jquery.ba-resize' ],function( AppArticle, AppOverlay, AppArticleCommon ){ var cfgOverlay = { maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: "center", left: "center", close: ".overlay-close" }; AppOverlay.initialize(cfgOverlay); AppArticle.initialize({ isWslAdDisplayed: isWslAdDisplayed, isArticleHelpful: isArticleHelpful, articlePageUri: '/health/medicare-what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-health', adRBTimeDelay : 300, adPositionsToHide : pageAdPositionsToHide, isNavigator: false }); AppArticleCommon.initialize(); var adRefresh = false, mr1RefreshTime = 4000, articleTitle = "Heading for Retirement? What You Can Do Now to Improve Your Health ", isBackToTop = false; adRefresh = true; require([ 'base/article-pagination-v3' ],function( AppArticlePagination ){ AppArticlePagination.initialize({ isPaginationOverride: false, adRBTimeDelay: 300, adPositionsToHide: pageAdPositionsToHide, adRefresh: adRefresh, mr1RefreshTime: mr1RefreshTime, rightRailNotSticky: false, articleTitle: articleTitle, isFbCommentsOn: false, isBackToTop: isBackToTop }); }); }); </script> <script> require([ 'base/rwd/article' ], function( AppArticleResponsive ){ var isTOCarticle = false; var isMsiteId = false; var isMoveMr2 = true, isReadMore = false; AppArticleResponsive.initialize({ adRBTimeDelay : 300, isTOCarticle : isTOCarticle, isMsiteId : isMsiteId, templateMerge : 'true', isNavigator: false, isMoveMr2: isMoveMr2, isReadMore: isReadMore }); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery',"base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if pb ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['600','480','320']; var isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("PB",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', logged_in : 'false', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'otherseniorhealth,senior_health,2795421', k1 : 'otherseniorhealth', k2 : 'seniorhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'lb', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : '', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/medicare-what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-health'), partner : 'healthline', pg_dart_site : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', pg_dart_zone : 'otherseniorhealth', pg_k2 : 'seniorhealth', pHLID : '2795421', HLID : '7984593|2795421|2795479', visit_type : 'HCviewer',hctype : 'H40',lcmain : 'Medicare', yeildex : 'true', targetsrc : '' }; var pbtimeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.pbIframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }, 300); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> var HL_adBlankMonitor = function(cfg) { if(cfg.adBlankCodes.length > 0) { for(var i = 0; i < cfg.adBlankCodes.length; i++) { if (typeof HL_ga_sendTrackEvent === 'function') { HL_ga_sendTrackEvent({ gaEventCategory : 'Ad Display', gaEventAction : 'Blank Ad', gaEventLabel : 'adBlankCode=' + cfg.adBlankCodes[i] + '&adspot=' + cfg.adPosition + '&pageUrl=' + window.location.pathname }); } } } }; require(["base/util/visit-tracker"],function(AppVisitTracker){ AppVisitTracker.initialize(); }); </script> <script> require([ 'healthline/newsletter-signup' ], function( newsletterSignup ){ newsletterSignup.setConfig({ newsletterHost: 'newsletter.healthline.com' }); }); </script> <script> /* load module */ require(["healthline/footer"]); </script> </eta></meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en"></meta property="fb:app_id" content="1529595680591919"/> ></div>