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By Rebecca Fending
November has always been a favorite month of mine. Growing up in the Midwest, it always meant that the weather was officially set for cozy holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and the new year. The cold November rain that Axl Rose so passionately described is in full affect, making it perfect weather to curl into a plush throw blanket and pick up that psycho-thriller novel you’ve been working on for, well, too long.
But for those of us that are fortunate enough to have a sunny escape from the settling winter, you’re probably just getting settled from moving back to the Sunshine State. You may also be more inclined to be more active than you would during Florida’s warmer months to soak in some vitamin D and fresh air.
Great ways to do so include visiting one of the state’s many nature preserves or national parks, romantic getaways to the most tropical parts of the state or even citrus picking to make your own fresh citrus treats. To read more about what you can do this winter, look for our travel column in this issue entitled, “A Snowbird Guide to Winter Fun,” (not exclusive to our snowbird brethren, as the name might would have you believe.)
And Florida’s perfectly warm-but-not-hot climate during the encroaching winter months makes this a perfect time to start planning for your health.
In past issues of Lifestyles, as well as in many of our online articles, we’ve discussed the importance of either starting to be or staying healthy—a priority that becomes pressing as our bodies age. One disease that seems to especially plague seniors in the southern part of our country is type 2 diabetes. As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, with World Diabetes Day on November 14, it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate your own lifestyles choices in the name of your prolonged health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent diabetes is by eating healthy, getting about 150 minutes of light exercise every day and managing your stress to avoid high blood pressure (a disease often paired with type 2 diabetes as the two conditions share the same prerequisites).
Now, implementing these changes is easier said than done. It’s difficult to change your lifestyle at any age, but especially for those 50 and over. The best way to start is to set small, short-term goals for yourself. For some, this could be taking a short walk on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, while for others, integrating more leafy greens onto their plates and less starches and carbohydrates.
If you find yourself having an especially hard time starting and sticking with these lifestyle changes, the CDC has their National Diabetes Prevention Program which can help you change and lower your risk by 58 percent, or 71 percent for those over 60.
Safe travels to those migrating back to Florida, visiting friends and family or even using our snowbird travel guide to see the state.
We’ll see you in December!