With the new year comes resolutions and promises to oneself to make the year ahead the best one yet. It is often a time for prioritizing important aspects of your life such as your health and making a vow to kick old habits. Whether your resolutions are to finally quit smoking, curb your alcohol consumption, or exercise more, we’ve compiled a few tips and resources to help get you started. If your goal this year is to be healthy, both mind and body, you may want to sign up for the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal’s email alerts. We’ll deliver the latest updates in healthy aging to your inbox weekly to help keep your resolutions in check all year long.
You know you should quit; perhaps you’ve tried to in the past and maybe you’ve made promises to loved ones, or to yourself, that this is the year you’re going to ‘butt out’ for good. Research has shown that nicotine can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine making it difficult to quit for good. Studies have shown those who took part in group-based programs were 50% to 130% more likely to successfully quit smoking. Group therapy and other types of smoking cessation programs are widely available in most communities and are usually free of charge. For more information about programs and support, visit: http://www.smokershelpline.ca/home.
Alcohol is known to increase the chances of liver, esophageal, breast and colorectal cancers, among others. Avoiding alcohol is your safest option, but if you choose to drink, follow the recommended guidelines: no more than one drink a day for women, no more than two a day for men.
Exercise your brain
While it is important to exercise our bodies, it is also important to exercise the mind to stay sharp as you age. Cognitive training may help keep your brain ‘in shape’ as you age. Older adults can use cognitive-based training – such as video games, learning therapy, or computerized training – to improve their cognitive function.