Want a long and healthy life? It should be within reach

Simple changes in eating habits, exercise, sleep and stress management are key.

Nordic walking offers new hope for those with balance and mobility challenges.
Hon. Jim Rondeau
Minister’s Message

Maintaining good health and a long life may be easier than you think. Simple changes in eating habits, exercise, sleep and stress management are the keys to a longer, healthier life. Each of these elements plays an important role in how our body works.

It is important to eat healthy food. Raw nuts, seeds, avocados and coconuts are good choices because they contain high levels of healthy oils. You can repair injured cells in the liver, brain, muscles and everywhere, just by eating these fatty acids. Vegetables also contain high concentrations of fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants. For a big health boost, try eating less processed food and getting half your diet from fruits and vegetables of many colours.

Sleep an important factor
A diet that provides crucial nutrients is just one part of the balancing act. Getting too little sleep each night can be just as bad for your body as eating poorly. People who get plenty of rest and exercise can build strong muscle and bone mass. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Physical activity is not only good for your health,  it’s an opportunity to have fun. Use this time to relax, forget about your worries and improve your mood. Studies show that regular physical activity not only improves the quality of your daily life but increases your lifespan by reducing the risk of chronic illness. Other benefits include:
• increased energy
• better physical appearance
• sharper mental health
• improved stress management
• greater self esteem

According to new Canadian physical activity guidelines, issued by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, older adults should take part in at least 2½ hours of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity each week. Try spreading it into sessions of 10 minutes or more. It is also a good idea to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week. This will help your posture and balance.

Here are a few tips to help you get active:
•Find an activity you like such as walking, swimming or cycling.
•Increase your activity level 10 minutes at a time.
•Look for group activities or classes in your community.
•Invite your family or friends to get active with you.
•Walk wherever and whenever you can.
•Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible.
•Carry your groceries home.

The health benefits of being active include:
•improved balance
•reduced falls and injuries
•staying independent longer
•preventing heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and premature death

Remember: activity can add years to your life and life to your years!

In motion is a provincial strategy to help all Manitobans make physical activity part of their daily lives for health and enjoyment. We want to make Manitobans healthier by increasing physical activity in the province by 20 per cent by the year 2015. For more information contact Manitoba in motion toll free at: 1-866-788-3648; email inmotion@gov.mb.ca.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy Manitoba summer. As always, I invite you to call the Seniors Information Line with any comments or questions. Call 945-6565 in Winnipeg; toll free 1-800-665-6565. You can also visit www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving and click on the link for Manitoba Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat.

Hon. Jim Rondeau is Minister of Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs.

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