Preventative health: A proactive approach

February is Preventative Health Awareness Month, a month-long initiative that aims to help inform Canadians about things they can do to keep themselves healthy at every age and stage of life. By taking preventative measures, the risk of developing chronic diseases could be lowered. Preventative health measures include things like making healthy lifestyle choices, taking care of your mental health, getting enough sleep, identifying risk factors for disease, and more.


Eating a healthy, balanced diet

Nourishing our bodies with healthy, whole foods can help with everything from weight loss to improved mood and can help manage conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes and contribute to better heart health.


Movement is medicine

Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of regular physical activity for older adults. An active lifestyle can help improve balance and decrease your risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Exercise helps our brains release endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals that can help enhance mood, provide a sense of well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression.


Prioritizing mental health and well-being

Mental health and emotional well-being are critical considerations for our aging population. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over have a mental disorder. Regular self-care through exercise, meditation and activities that bring you joy, such as painting, singing, or writing, can help strengthen your mental well-being.


Getting a good night’s sleep

It is estimated that 1 in 2 Canadian adults struggle with falling or staying asleep. Not getting good quality sleep can negatively affect our health and well-being. Poor sleep quality can potentially increase the risk of developing anxiety, depression, suicidal behaviours, cognitive issues, physical impairments, heart disease, diabetes, and immune disorders.


Read our resources below for preventative strategies to help you age optimally.

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.