Everyone ages, but you can choose to do so gracefully or not. By making healthy lifestyle choices from a young age and throughout your life, you can reach older age none the worse for wear.
While you know that you should be eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis, these aren’t the only good decisions you can make to stay healthy and happy, no matter how old you are. It’s never too late to start and these six things will get you off on the right foot.
1. Build Your Flexibility
A flexible body can withstand the wear and tear that comes with aging. According to research, people who stay flexible have a better quality of life in the later years than those who don’t. It also benefits your heart health, making it a great choice at any age. Talk to your doctor about appropriate flexibility exercises for your body and health. Yoga is an option that is appropriate for most people. Try to incorporate a couple of flexibility exercise sessions each week for the most benefit.
2. Eat A Well Balanced Diet
Yes, you’ve heard this before. The evidence is strong for many reasons. A varied diet ensures that you are getting adequate amounts of all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Build this habit at a young age and it won’t be a problem to stick with it as you age. The United States Department of Agriculture suggests eating a variety of foods from each food group. Avoid or limit fast food, processed foods, soda, candy and other junk food.
3. Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Workouts
Much like flexibility exercises are important, so too are strength training moves. This includes things like weight lifting or using resistance bands. This type of exercise builds strength, range of motion and endurance. It also boosts your metabolism, helping to control your weight. Strength training has also been shown to improve muscle and bone mass and boost brain function. Research also shows that strength training can improve your heart health and keep your body looking and feeling young.
4. Take A Break From Time To Time
Rest and relaxation is just as important as regular exercise. It is beneficial for brain health and helps alleviate stress. This means that your mental capacities will stay strong as you age and your body can resist the negative effects of stress hormones. Meditation is a great way to get this done, but having a hobby, spending time with friends and family and going on a vacation also give you a break. Experts also suggest making sure that you get enough sleep so your body has the opportunity to renew and recharge at the end of each day.
5. Put On Your Rose-colored Glasses
Evidence shows that simply believing in the best outcome can reduce stress levels and give you a more positive outlook. This is important because feeling good can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and muscle tension, and improve the function of your brain. Other studies show that happy and positive people are healthier overall than their negative counterparts. Practice redirecting your thoughts when they turn dark and over time, you’ll learn to naturally look on the bright side of things.
6. Carry Around Positive Thoughts
Sometimes positive thoughts aren’t enough. In some cases, you’ll need to write them down so you can refer to them as often as necessary. This could be something like an affirmation of what you’re striving for or a statement that reminds you of your strengths. That way you can pull it out when you’re having a tough day so that you can get your brain back on track.
None of these steps are going to be effortless, especially the ones that are opposite your current approach. The trick is to practice as often as you can and work on building a habit that can last a lifetime. Try writing down your plan so that you are reminded of it often. Don’t get discouraged when you fall off the bandwagon. Simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back to it. Over time, you’ll notice that it gets easier and your older self will thank you for putting these things into practice now while you’re still young.