The things we do, what we eat, and how we think, affect our health and how we age. If we avoid exercise, we are at greater risk of disease. A fatty diet that is also rich in sugar and processed food can accelerate ageing. The ways we stimulate our brains can have an impact on our mental health. Whether you are a young adult or a retiree, there are lots of simple things you can do to keep yourself physically and mentally fit so that you can enjoy your life now and in the future.
Establish a baseline
Before you make changes, you should take a biological age test to establish a baseline of your current health span. Once you know how your body is already responding to your lifestyle, it’s easier to see what changes are required. It’s also a good idea to get a regular checkup with your doctor so that they can pick up any problems early.
We lose muscle mass during middle age, leading to weakness and a sluggish metabolism. Low-intensity weightlifting will help you to maintain some of your muscles without overworking them.
As children, our limbs are so flexible we can touch our toes to our nose, but by adulthood, our tendons and ligaments lose elasticity. Simple activities like bending to put socks on can become strenuous and painful, and we can easily lose our balance. Yoga is an ideal way to retain mobility as regular stretching protects your spine, cartilage, muscles, and tendons, making you less prone to injury. It also provides tranquillity for the mind and an opportunity to socialise.
Look after your heart
Elevating your heart rate to approximately 110 beats per minute encourages your body to burn fat for energy, making you leaner. Low-intensity cardio exercise like a brisk walk, a gentle bike ride, or swimming will go a long way to caring for your heart.
Protect your joints
High-impact exercise or endurance training can take its toll on your body. Protect your joints by focusing your efforts on low-impact activities, such as aqua Zumba or shorter training sessions. Fight inflammation by including plenty of omega 3 and 6, collagen, and glucosamine in your diet by eating oily fish, chicken, eggs, or supplements.
Hydration is essential for keeping us alive but also for alleviating illnesses. The best way to stay hydrated is by drinking at least six glasses of water a day. Increase your intake if you are exercising, when it’s hot, or if you have a gastrointestinal upset as you lose more fluid than usual. Take frequent sips throughout the day to improve your energy levels, flush out toxins, support your digestive system, and sharpen your brain.
Take care of your teeth
As well as affecting your smile, bad teeth make it difficult for you to eat well and put your health at risk. This is because gum disease is caused by bacteria in your mouth, contributing to pneumonia, stroke, and heart disease. Floss and brush your teeth twice a day and get regular checkups from your dentist.
Nourish your skin
One of the first giveaways of your age is the condition of your skin. Like the rest of your body, it requires proper nourishment to keep it supple and functioning at its best. Protect it from the sun with a high SPF sun cream, cleanse it with a hydrating cleanser, and treat it to a moisturiser that contains anti-ageing antioxidants.
Keep your mind healthy
Being physically healthy is one thing, but being mentally healthy is also important since a stressed mind can affect your blood pressure, heart rate, and hormones. Calm your mind with meditation or mindfulness, and exercise your synapses with puzzles, reading, and hobbies. Keep in touch with family and friends, as socialising keeps depression at bay.
Get enough sleep
As well as restoring our energy levels, sleep gives our body and brain a chance to repair itself. Aim to get about eight hours of sleep a night to lower your risk of stroke and heart disease, relieve depression and stress, reduce inflammation, and enhance your concentration. If you struggle to sleep at night, top up your rest with a nap during the day.
There’s no escaping the inevitable – we all get older every day, but there are many things you can do to stay youthful. Although you won’t be able to recapture your spring years, looking after your physical and mental health will enable you to enjoy your autumnal period. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself, improve your life and continue to age gracefully.