How to Stay Well Forever

Yes, I admit it. I read the AARP magazine. And look what I found in the August/September, 2014 issue – tips from geriatrician Harvey Jay Cohen, M.D. on how to stay healthy as we age.

His first suggestion is to join a laughter club. He refers to numerous studies that have shown that laughter can reduce stress, improve the immune system, and relieve pain. Laughter clubs have emerged around the globe and can be found at laughteryoga.org.

His next suggestion is for people 50 or older to get more sleep. He mentions a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that found that people over 50 who get six to nine hours of sleep a night think better. The added sleep allows for strengthening of the connections between brain cells that help older adults process information more readily. Researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland found that poor sleepers show signs of premature skin aging, uneven skin tone, and reduced elasticity.

Cohen’s last suggestion is to get specific screenings instead of a yearly physical. A better bet is to get screened for heart disease, breast and colon cancers, and vaccines for flu and shingles. He also emphasizes making sure that one’s tetanus vaccine is current.

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