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University of Minnesota Extension

Protecting health for older adults

Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your health. Staying active and eating healthy foods can help you live a longer, healthier life. 

Eat right

  • University of Minnesota Extension has great nutritious recipes that you can search by ingredient, meal type or diet restrictions at Real Life Good Food.
  • Eat more dark green vegetables like broccoli, salad greens and cooked greens; eat more orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes; eat more lentils and beans like pinto, black or kidney beans. 
  • Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits like bananas, berries, grapes and oranges.
  • Make half of your grains whole grains like whole grain cereals, breads, rice or pasta.
  • Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry.
  • Vary your protein sources. Include eggs, beans, tofu, fish, nuts, and seeds.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and other milk products.
  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt or sodium.

Visit the Farmers markets webpage to learn how to use your EBT card at farmers markets and to find a farmers market near you.

Stay active

Older adults gain many health benefits from regular physical activity. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend two types of activity for older adults: aerobic and muscle-strengthening. In addition, the Guidelines recommend balance training for older adults at risk of falls.

Another resource is the exercise and physical activity page on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. It’s designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. This page offers exercises, motivational tips, and free resources to help you get ready, start exercising, and keep going. It includes an evidence-based exercise guide in both English and Spanish and an exercise video.

Here are tips for staying active.

  • Go for a walk, by yourself or with a friend.
  • Try out chair yoga. Click here for activities: Basic yoga. This handout is also available in Spanish: Rutina básica del yoga.
  • Work in your yard or garden.
  • Take an exercise or dance class at a community center or gym.

Remember: all activity adds up! You don’t have to do it all at once.

You may be interested in...

Senior LinkAge Line® (1-800-333-2433) — Minnesota Board on Aging — This free statewide information and assistance service helps connect you to local services.

Senior LinkMinnesotaHelp.info — Online access to statewide community resources for seniors, their families, and caregivers. Need help finding assistance with day-to-day things like transportation or meals? The Senior Section of MinnesotaHelp.info will help seniors, their families, and caregivers focus on finding the help they need.

Helping Minnesotans Live WellMinnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging — Minnesota’s seven Area Agencies on Aging are focal points for helping individuals live well as they age in their communities. They help older adults; the communities in which they live; and the public, nonprofit and private organizations that support them come together to foster positive aging.

Minnesota NAPSMinnesota Department of Health — NAPS is a nutrition assistance program just for seniors. Learn more about the program and find out if you qualify.

Reviewed in 2022

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