The most important thing in life is your health – without good health, you’ve got nothing. But what many people don’t know is that it’s much easier to prevent illness rather than treat it.
The good news is, it’s never too late to make healthy changes that will allow you to see big benefits!
Here are five things you can do now to stay healthy at every age.
1. Improve your diet
The majority of adults around the world consume more than twice the recommended daily intake of sodium. Most of that intake comes from pre-made foods and restaurants. Excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States.
Another major nutritional problem for older adults is obesity, which contributes to diseases like type II diabetes, some types of cancer, and strokes.
What to do
The best way to stay healthy is by following a Mediterranean-style diet:
It’s high in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, and healthy fats but low in dairy, meat, processed foods, and sugar.
Eating nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods as recommended by the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of chronic illnesses and protects your brain.
If changing your diet seems too complicated at first, try making fruit and vegetable juices with a masticating juicer to add more vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients to your diet quickly.
2. Stay active
Regular physical activity is beneficial at every age. But staying active is especially important for healthy aging as exercise lowers the risk for many chronic conditions, including type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. And on top of that, exercise also helps to prevent dementia and other cognitive changes.
What to do
It’s always recommended to check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. When your GP clears you for physical activity, aim to get at least half an hour of exercise most days of the week.
Walking, light jogging, swimming, or yoga are good low-impact activities to try, but the key is to find something you enjoy doing.
3. Don’t underestimate the effects of stress
Stress is not just a mental condition but a physical one as well:
You may feel mental stress when you worry about things like money, your loved ones, or retirement and physical stress when you’re overwhelmed with work, not sleeping enough, or following a poor diet.
But what people don’t often realize is that stress plays an important role in our health. Chronic stress can raise your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease but also damage brain cells and lead to depression.
What to do
While you can’t completely avoid stress, you can learn better techniques to cope with it. Learn to recognize symptoms of stress and take care of yourself:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a healthy diet
- Spend time with friends and family
- Read a good book
- Learn to meditate
- Take up yoga
- Book a massage or get a massage chair
- Practice positive thinking
If you feel like you can’t handle stress on your own, talk to your loved ones or get professional help.
4. Maintain relationships
While unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity certainly contribute to an earlier death, another surprising factor that impacts your life expectancy is the existence of social relationships.
Research has shown that people with stronger social connections live longer. This means that the quality of your current relationships plays a big role in your ability to stay happy and healthy later in life.
What to do
Stay connected to friends and family, especially if you experience any significant life changes, like retirement, loss of a job, or health issues. Make time to meet with people you love and reach out to friends who may feel isolated and lonely. You can also join local clubs or associations to meet new people with same interests as you.
5. Challenge your brain
As we age, our cognitive abilities change. While a certain amount of cognitive decline is normal, some people experience a severe deterioration, leading to dementia and other cognitive issues.
The good news is you can “train” your brain to ensure cognitive health as you age.
What to do
Following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s sleep are one of the best ways to maintain a healthy mind.
But you can also challenge your brain by performing simple tasks like these:
- Driving home via a different route
- Brushing your teeth with your opposite hand
- Solving crosswords and Sudoku
- Doing math in your head.
You can also learn a new language, learn to play a musical instrument, learn a new sport, and much more. The key is to keep learning as you get older.
Aging is a normal part of life but being old doesn’t have to mean being sick, weak, and lonely. There are many things you can do now to ensure you stay happy and healthy through all the years to come. And the recipe is very simple: stay active, take care of yourself, keep learning, follow a good diet, and don’t lose touch with friends and family.