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Healthy Aging

Americans are now living longer.  For seniors to live longer and have a good quality of life, it is important that they maintain a healthy lifestyle and take some preventive measures.  

Living a healthy lifestyle helps protect against the deterioration that is often associated with aging.  Dr. Gary Rull, associate professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says it is very important to take responsibility for one’s own health.  He advises individuals to pay attention to lifestyle issues. 

SOUND BITE:    “ I think it requires a multi-faceted approach.  I think seniors need to eat healthy, exercise regularly, make sure they see their doctor on a regular basis, stay socially connected and also remain intellectually curious.”

Dr. Rull says seniors should consult with their personal physician prior to starting an exercise program.  Nutrition is another key factor in healthy aging.  He recommends eating a balanced diet that includes five servings of fruits and vegetables every day as well as a diet that is low in both cholesterol and sodium.   

Maintaining good health in the senior years also requires regular health monitoring and getting the appropriate health screenings.

SOUND BITE:  “Certainly seniors need to speak to their physician about testing for colon cancer screening, breast cancer screening, screening for osteoporosis.  There are other things that depending on the senior’s health status and age.  It may be indicated that there is something they need to talk to their health care provider about.”

Dr. Rull says it is very important for senior citizens to stay active mentally, socially and physically.  For more information about healthy aging, check with a personal physician, a local senior citizen center or public health department.  Or visit the American Geriatric Society Web site at

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.