Part three of the healthy living column with Kimberley Nichol

Swimming is a great form of exercise for the over 65s.
Swimming is a great form of exercise for the over 65s.

This is the third in a four-part series of top tips from East Riding of Yorkshire Council for families about how to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Keeping a healthy weight as we get older:

It’s never too late to think about adopting a healthier lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you suddenly have to change your diet and start spending every day at the gym.

Just a few small changes can make a big difference – helping you to feel better, have more energy and sleep more soundly.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important. It’s not good for us to be either overweight or underweight.

If you would like advice about how to lose weight, or if you’ve recently lost weight but aren’t sure why, make an appointment to speak to your GP, nurse or one of the health trainers. They can give you advice if you have any concerns about your weight.

Staying active

Regular exercise increases the production of chemicals in the brain that lift your mood and it can give you more energy to do things you enjoy, such as seeing friends and family.

Stamina, strength, flexibility and balance are particularly important as you get older and can help you to do everyday tasks more easily as well as enjoy activities more.

Adults aged 65 or older who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility should try to be active daily and should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week and include strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles groups.

Healthy eating

No single food contains everything that you need to stay healthy, so the golden rule is to eat a variety of foods each day.

Eating healthily doesn’t mean cutting out foods that you enjoy, it just means eating some foods less often or in smaller portions, and eating more of other foods.

Get your five-a-day

Research suggests that people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease and some cancers, such as bowel cancer.

Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your five-a- day, including those which are frozen, canned and dried.

Cut back on salt, fat and sugar

Many of us eat too much salt, which can increase our risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Always think before you sprinkle salt on your meal.

Foods that are high in fat including cakes, biscuits, sausages, meat pies, fatty meat and cheese, can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

In the UK we eat too much sugar. Added sugars, such as table sugar, honey and syrups, shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day, that’s about 30g a day.

Drink plenty of fluid: about six to eight glasses each day

This does not have to be water. Tea, coffee and low-sugar or sugar-free squash are fine.

It’s particularly important to drink plenty in hot weather.