Celebrate Healthy Aging! Paul’s Run Registered Dietitian Shares 7 Tips for Healthy Aging
September 1, 2021
September is National Healthy Aging Month! What better way to celebrate than to chat with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) at Paul’s Run, Stephanie Kowalski? Stephanie enjoys promoting the health and wellness of residents at Paul’s Run on a daily basis. Today, she shares her knowledge with all of us as we celebrate the joy of living well.
Stephanie says she’s always had a passion for food and nutrition. “I’ve always loved to cook and have been very interested in the way that food affects our bodies, and its ability to help manage and treat certain diseases,” she explains. It’s no surprise then that Stephanie chose to pursue these interests as her career. And it was in the process of earning her degree and completing an internship that she discovered her passion for working with older adults.
Interning at several different organizations including hospitals, food pantries, and school districts, Stephanie especially enjoyed her work at a retirement living community. “I really just loved working with older adults because I got to see their health improve and progress over time. The relationships I would build with residents was really rewarding to me.”
Building relationships with residents, and helping them improve their health throughout their retirement, Stephanie was thrilled when she came across a job opening for a registered dietitian at Paul’s Run. Beginning her role as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in February of 2018, Stephanie says that what she enjoys most about Paul’s Run is the people she spends time with each and every day.
Stephanie’s Tips for Healthy Aging
Before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle please consult your doctor to ensure safety for your personal health and well-being.
1. Fiber is key! Get sufficient fiber in your diet from fresh fruits and veggies.
Stephanie explains that having enough fiber in your diet is important at every age, but it’s especially important as we approach our later years. “Fiber helps manage your blood sugar and can help you maintain a healthy weight. It also helps regulate bowel movements and can help lower your cholesterol levels,” Stephanie indicates.
If you’re wondering how to get enough fiber in your diet, Stephanie says fresh fruits and vegetables are your answer. “Fruits and vegetables are really important for older adults. They contain lots of vitamins and nutrients, and of course, fiber.”
2. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
“Water is really important, especially if you’re eating a lot of fiber,” explains Stephanie. According to Stephanie, everyone has different health needs, and how much water you should drink each day depends on your personal lifestyle including your medication, activity level, diet and more. Consult your doctor to determine how much water you should be drinking each day.
3. Eat a variety of foods and try not to be too restrictive.
“Eating a variety of food ensures that you get the vitamins and nutrients you need,” says Stephanie. While many people like to follow specific diets that cut out certain foods, Stephanie says that a restrictive diet may not be the best option for your health. “When it comes to nutrients, I know a lot of people like to follow diets like keto, or low-carb. I think as you age, it’s important to not restrict yourself to any limiting diet. Just make sure your meals are well-balanced and that you’re getting a variety of foods on your plate.”
At Paul’s Run Stephanie works with the dining team to ensure that meals are equally nutritious as they are delicious, and residents are certainly pleased with their efforts. “You can’t beat the food here. It’s just delicious,” raves Margaret Konschak, resident at Paul’s Run. Executive Chef, Kenneth, understands the value of variety as he and the dining staff create upscale menus with new recipes each month.
4. Exercise and stay active.
“Try taking walks. Walking is a great way to exercise. Paul’s Run residents stay active by going to the various exercise classes we offer here. They really help residents maintain their physical activity,” Stephanie affirms. Stephanie also advises older adults to try and get outside when it’s not too hot. “It’s good to get outside, but don’t spend too much time out there if there’s excessive heat,” she warns.
5. Stay connected with friends, families, and neighbors.
“Social engagement is really important for healthy aging,” says Stephanie. “That’s why it’s so great for older adults to be in a community like Paul’s Run where residents get to safely interact with their friends and neighbors. Here, there’s always someone nearby for residents to see and talk to, and residents health and safety is our top priority,” Stephanie reflects.
6. Aging healthfully depends on the body AND the mind.
“A healthy mind makes it easier for you to have a healthy body. I think that’s really important,” Stephanie emphasizes. As the health of your body and mind are closely intertwined, combining a well-balanced diet, exercise, and social engagement each day will help you maintain both.
7. Have fun!
In a community like Paul’s Run, having fun is easy, and Stephanie says it’s one major component of aging healthfully. “Have fun and don’t take life too seriously,” Stephanie laughs. “Make sure you’re eating a variety of foods, staying active, and staying connected with friends,” she adds. As residents at Paul’s Run enjoy an active retirement, they do just that. With delightful cuisine, nutritious meals, and weekly exercise classes, residents at Paul’s Run enjoy a variety of activities with the friends, families, and neighbors of this beautiful community.