Tips for Healthy Living at Every Age
While there are certain habits we should carry through our entire lives, here are some targeted ideas for better health at every age.
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Get up and move. Thirty minutes of daily regular exercise and weight training can keep your overall body condition stronger, for longer. Physical activity can also relieve stress, boost your mood and encourage a regular sleep cycle.
Protect your skin. Guarding your skin from the sun‘s harsh rays prevents skin cancer, fine lines, and wrinkles in your later years. Shield yourself with adequate shade (a stylish hat, perhaps?) and broad-spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30). If you're spending the entire day outside, reapply every two to three hours. Don't skimp during the cooler months, either.
Know your health history. Genetics is one of the best predetermining factors for disease risk. Getting to know your family history will give you a glimpse at any potential red flags. Know your parents' and grandparents' medical histories. Don't forget to look into significant conditions that your great-grandparents may have had, too, as it can help your doctor create necessary preventative measures.
Drink wisely. If you choose to consume alcohol, focus on making conscious beverage decisions. For a lower calorie intake, opt for mixed drinks made with club soda or 100 percent fruit juice. Wine is a good choice as it's full of antioxidants and can contribute to your daily iron, magnesium and potassium levels. Light beers are another option if you're not one for cocktails. At the end of the day, alcohol is a toxin to our bodies, and we can only process so much.
Jump-start your metabolism. Strength-training for six months can increase your resting metabolism, so you'll burn more calories even when you're sitting on the sofa. This type of activity also helps you fortify bones, maintain balance, and avoid injury—important for protecting your skeleton both now and when you're older.
Go out with your friends. Relaxing with friends reduces stress, boosts self-esteem and even makes you more loving toward your partner when you get home. Many people at this stage let their social lives fall by the wayside because of career and family demands. Maintain your social networks as they will keep you vibrant and active for years to come.
Get essential check-ups. In addition to making health-boosting, stress-busting habits a part of your lifestyle, don't neglect your routine tests, such as eye exams, blood pressure check-ups, pap test and pelvic exam, thyroid, mole check, mammogram and blood glucose. Consult your doctor for frequency of each test.
Sleep more. People who get seven to nine hours of sleep a night live longest in studies of slumber and aging. If you have trouble sleeping, cut your losses by going to bed 15 minutes earlier or getting up 15 minutes later each day until you wake up feeling bright and refreshed. Take a warm bath an hour before bedtime and sleep in a cold room to nod off faster.
Stay engaged to stay sharp. Learn new skills any way you can—taking courses, joining a book club, trying a new sport or designing a garden. Exercising your mind will make it easier to handle daily activity for longer than if you are less mentally active. Notice how a simple walk can boost your thoughts.
Keep your nutrition in check. Getting enough of a wide variety of nutrients—including zinc, iron, beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamins B6, B12, C, D and E— boosts immune response in older people. However, it's best to get most of your nutrients from fruits, vegetables and whole foods, and cover your bases by taking a multivitamin that contains the RDA of most nutrients.
Get out and do more. Now is truly when you can do everything you never had time for. Travel somewhere you've never been, engage in your community and enjoy time with your family and friends. There's no better way to stay healthy than to feel love and connection with others.