FMAH Talks Healthy Aging, Healthy Lifestyles for September

Family Medicine for America's Health Talks Healthy Aging

Family Medicine for America’s Health (FMAH) is currently using the month of September to turn the gaze of its Health is Primary campaign onto healthy aging. The campaign is an ongoing effort by FMAH to advocate the values of family medicine and promote healthy lifestyles. Health is Primary is mainly a communication effort, and this month features patient handouts on staying active, preventative services, and other elements that can promote brain and body health.

How to Stay Healthy

A key point that’s emphasized by members of FMAH is that lifestyle choices should be easy and fun to make. Regular, moderate exercise is important for healthy aging, but is less likely to be performed if seniors—or anyone, really—finds it to be too much effort for too little enjoyment. Finding activities to engage in like walking, bicycling, rowing, or swimming, can be a good way to have fun while also getting in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day.

In terms of physical effects, FMAH says that patients should expect to be slightly winded afterwards, but not to an uncomfortable or painful degree. Plenty of sleep is encouraged so that the body can be well-rested and recovered for the next day’s events.

Mental health and social engagement are also important; staying connected and building the brain can help stave off functional declines and the social contact helps prevent isolation and depression—two problems that are unfortunately common among seniors. Reading is encouraged, both for fun and for learning, as is joining clubs and volunteer organizations. Staying in touch with friends and family is also key, along with getting together often. Embracing travel opportunities can also help keep life fresh and interesting.

Diet is also addressed, and FMAH admits that it can be a tricky matter at times. Their recommendation is for seniors to eat slowly, take the time to enjoy taste and texture, and to stop when they feel full. Portion control is key to managing weight, and people are encouraged to shift towards portions that satisfy hunger rather than fill up a plate. Moderation is always important in a diet, so while saturated fats or refined sugars can be eaten, it should be done so sparingly and in the context of a well-rounded and varied diet.

The guidance materials for September’s healthy aging push, as well as other information about healthy lifestyle choices, can be found at the Health is Primary site here.

Crawford, C., “Campaign Focuses on Healthy Aging for September,” AAFP web site, September 14, 2016;, last accessed September 15, 2016.