How to age properly and live a long life? The answer to this question can be found in a handout material published by the Institute for Health and Medical Statistics.
The said Institute is a primary healthcare institution working to shape and encourage healthy lifestyles in Uzbekistan. Its specialists have dwelled on this issue in-depth during meetings with the population. Handout materials such as booklets and brochures help to consolidate what the people learned during the meetings. This year, under the Year of Attention and Care for the Senior Generation State Program, elderly people have been provided with more publications. Director of the institute, Zulhumor Mutalova, has kindly agreed to answer questions from an Uzbekistan Today correspondent.
How compatible are the notions ‘old age’ and ‘healthy lifestyle’? As is known, it is impossible to avoid diseases.
“Aging does not necessarily mean poor health and weakness. Health problems are primarily caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Maintaining good health requires an integrated approach that includes healthy eating, moderate physical exercise, an active lifestyle and learning to handle stress.”
What do readers learn from the materials about healthy diet?
“First of all, readers can learn that there are no prohibited products or meals for elderly people, but it is important to keep a diet. A balanced diet means you have to consume food per hour and should not stay hungry for a long time, overeat, and must cut down on fried, fatty, spicy and salted food. Preference must be given to steamed and boiled food. We also recommend consuming more vegetables and fruits since they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibers that our body needs. There are a lot of myths about dairy products. But the truth is that milk and dairy products have great health benefits for us as they maintain the balance of the intestinal micro flora. As for fried meat, cakes, pastries, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, these should be considerably reduced.
What else do doctors recommend that elderly people pay attention to?
“Physical activity, which is considered the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, strengthens the body and improves wellbeing. Working to stay fit in old age will help to remain healthy and active for a longer time. Non-strenuous exercises have a positive impact on breathing and enrich the body with oxygen, lift the spirits, reduce anxiety and help fight stress. They are good for the heart and cut the risk of cardiovascular diseases.”
There is also a strong tendency to pay particular attention to mental health as part of healthy lifestyle promotion efforts…
“Right. It is essential for ensuring longevity. We recommend retired people spend more time with their children, grandchildren and relatives. Wellbeing also depends on activities such as visits to museums, theaters and concerts. It is also important to engage in your favorite pastimes such as reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing chess, knitting and gardening...”
Healthcare professionals have also provided tips on how to build relationships with doctors.
“That’s our way of fighting self-treatment. In case someone doesn’t feel well, we recommend seeing a doctor, and as a preventive measure we recommend visiting a doctor at least once or twice a month.”