10 Healthy Aging Tips for Santa
We know that at this time of year, your mailbox at the North Pole is overflowing! But we hope you'll take time to read our wish list for you—the gift of healthy lifestyle choices. We're making our list and checking it twice to find ways for you to stay active and engaged for years to come!
- Cut back on the cookies. A few sweet treats won't hurt, but don’t overdo it. If you eat all the cookies that the children of the world leave for you on Christmas Eve, you'll shake like a bowl full of jelly all the more—and that belly fat is especially unhealthy. Trade some of those cookies for Rudolph's carrots instead.
- Get regular exercise. Climbing up and down chimneys around the world on Christmas Eve gives you a big dose of exercise—but only for one night. You need a year-round fitness plan to keep your brain and body fit. Talk to your healthcare provider about an exercise program that includes aerobic, muscle-building and flexibility activities.
- Watch out for falls. Falls are a leading cause of disability for older adults. Did you know that most falls happen right in a senior's own home? Give Santa's Workshop a safety inspection. Remind the elves to remove clutter that might cause you or Mrs. Claus to trip. And of course, take a balance class before you climb down all those chimneys!
- Buckle up. Not only the famous shiny black belt of your red suit, but also your seatbelt! Your sleigh should be equipped with a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved lap/shoulder seatbelt. And maybe it's time to upgrade to a sleigh with airbags.
- Take a refresher driving course. The airways are a lot busier than when you started out! And physical and mental changes of aging can make safe driving more challenging. Take a driver safety class that’s specially designed for seniors. As a bonus, you might save money on your sleigh insurance, as well.
- Keep your immunizations up to date. Seniors are at higher risk of complications from infectious diseases. Start with your annual flu shot—we're right in the middle of influenza season. As a world traveler, be sure to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to find out the immunizations that are recommended for your itinerary. And have the elves inspect Dasher, Dancer, Donner and Blitzen regularly for the pests that can cause Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses.
- Get an eye exam. As an older adult, you should have your eyes checked at least once a year for glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. And is the prescription in your little gold glasses up to date?
- Avoid hypothermia. As we grow older, we become more sensitive to extreme temperatures. Wear thermal underwear under your red suit and be sure your hat is waterproof. But dress in layers to avoid becoming overheated while visiting children in the more tropical climes.
- Quit smoking for good! We see you less and less with your signature pipe these days, Santa, and that is a good example for the children of the world. But if you're still tempted to light up, sign up for a smoking cessation class. Smoking raises the risk of a whole host of illnesses.
- Fight holiday stress. Yes, we realize who we're talking to! Who faces a greater challenge with this one? Your natural cheerfulness and sense of humor will help you avoid many stress-related health effects. But it's also important to pace yourself and get tasks done in advance. Ask the elves and the mall Santas to pitch in if you’re feeling overwhelmed.