Mindfulness Plays a Role in Health

It’s not difficult to fall out of healthy habits when our daily lives have been significantly altered and worry about finances, health or relationships have moved to the forefront of our thoughts.  All the added stress of the past few months experiencing a global pandemic may have taken a toll on both physical and mental health.  But by using several strategies in combination, older adults can reach and maintain a healthy body weight while coping better with stress. 

According to a recent McMaster Optimal Aging Portal post, achieving a healthy weight is best accomplished by getting more exercise along with eating a healthy diet and practicing mindfulness.   Adults who want to shed a few extra pounds should always talk with their doctor first before starting any new diet or exercise program.  Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats along with regular exercise can increase weight loss. 

Some studies have found that a vegetarian diet may improve weight loss efforts and counseling to help curb overeating or develop strategies to get in more activity each day may be helpful.  Working with an individualized weight-loss program that offers support tools for tracking food and activity as well as tips for practicing mindfulness can help adults combat obesity and the many health problems associated with being overweight. 

Obesity has become a worldwide problem with more than 650 million adults considered obese in 2016 and 1.2 billion adults classified as overweight.  These groups are also at greater risk for developing a chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Carrying extra weight can also interfere with daily living and prevent adults from enjoying activities resulting in a poorer quality of life. 

Not sure what mindfulness is or how it translates into weight loss?  According to the Mayo Clinic, a meditation that focuses on living in the moment using breathing techniques, guided imagery and other mind-body practices can help relieve stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure.  By setting aside time each day to step away from negative thoughts, adults can restore energy, balance and a more positive mindset; most yoga practices include aspects of mindfulness at the beginning and end of each session. 

Need help getting started on a healthier eating path?  Learn more and download the MyPlate App developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture here.  The site also provides healthy recipes and tips for eating well on a budget.