12 Ways to Look, Feel and Think Younger
Making small changes in your routine is all it takes to slow the hands of time. Start with these strategies to extend your youth.
1. Supplement Your Diet
You may know that getting enough of the antioxidant vitamins C and E and beta-carotene is one of the best ways to slow the clock. But if you’re serious about staying young, there are other supplements you should know about too. Vitamin B12 is one of them, since deficiencies of this nutrient-common in people over 60-can result in dementia and memory loss. So is calcium, which not only guards against osteoporosis but may also help prevent the most common type of stroke. Keep in mind: there are some things you should know before popping a pill, so be sure to do your research.
2. Eat Your Medicine
Eating fish once a week could cut your risk of sudden cardiac death. Good nutrition is more than consuming less fat; it’s knowing the difference between good and bad fats, paying attention to the variety and proportions of the foods you eat, and making good nutritional choices a habit. If you’ve had poor habits for a long time, you won’t be able to change overnight, but you can succeed if you improve your diet gradually.
3. Get a Move On
Staying physically active may be the best thing you can do to safeguard your health. Even modest amounts of exercise-as little as 20 minutes a day-can do a world of good, especially if you have a regular routine and get the various forms of exercise you need to build your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
4. Watch Your Weight
We all know that obesity can lead to serious health problems and shorten your life, but even 5-10 kg of extra weight can pose an unnecessary risk, especially if it’s sitting mostly around your middle. Your metabolism slows with age, so you’re not burning the calories you once did. That means you should be cutting down on how much you eat, stepping up your exercise, or both.
5. Be Good to Your Bones
If you’re a woman, don’t wait until after menopause to address your risk of osteoporosis. You start losing bone density at least a decade before menopause, so you need to get enough Calcium and Vitamin D every day, stop smoking, and do regular weight-bearing exercise right now. When you approach menopause, discuss hormone replacement therapy with your doctor. And men, don’t think you’re immune to osteoporosis. Your risk is increasing more slowly than a woman’s, but by the time you reach your seventies or eighties, it can be just as great. After the age of 60, one in every two females and one in every three males will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.
6. Get Checked
Many people hate to see the doctor, but he or she can be your best friend when it comes to preventing health problems. Getting your blood pressure checked annually, for example, can help prevent serious cardiovascular and kidney problems. Yearly flu shots can ward off not only the flu but also the complications that can come with it. And you’ll never regret detecting cancer or diabetes early on, when there’s still time to do something about it.
7. Limit the Liquor
It’s true that one or two drinks a day may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, but you shouldn’t start drinking to gain these benefits. Exercise and diet can help you achieve the same results. Also, the older you get, the more alcohol affects you. Plus, overdoing alcohol increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
8. Say No to Smoking-and to Smoke
Heart disease, stroke, and cancer are the leading causes of death, and smoking is a significant contributing factor. Quitting is hard, but not impossible. As for passive smoking, realize that sitting in smoke-filled rooms could shorten your life, too.
9. Think Young
To remain vital, you need to stay actively engaged in life and break out of old routines. Find a passion or purpose and pursue it. Get involved in volunteer work. Try a new type of food, start a garden, or adopt a pet. It’s also important to challenge yourself. Learning new things can actually stimulate new connections in your brain. Play bridge, do challenging crossword puzzles, or join a book discussion group.
10. Preserve Your Pearly Whites
Once upon a time, as people got older, they got dentures. If you’d rather keep your teeth, dental checkups and cleaning should be on your calendar at least once or twice a year. Daily flossing and brushing of your teeth are also an important part of your preventive health care. Gum disease can actually spread infection to your heart and take years off your life.
11. Get Enough Sleep
Restful, deep sleep can be more elusive than ever as you age. Yet adequate shuteye is crucial to ageing well. Sleep has been strongly linked to proper immune system functioning and also to cardiovascular health. Learning more about your changing sleep patterns and how you can improve them can add to the quality and quantity of your life.
12. Stay Connected Socially
Maintaining the ties that bind-with family and friends, both old and new-is much more important than we thought, according to the most recent medical research. In fact, having a social network has been clinically proven to contribute to a longer life and reduce the need for doctor visits and trips to the hospital. If you have a support system, you’re more likely to weather physical ailments, stress, and emotional problems-and derive more enjoyment from life. The more people you talk to daily or weekly, the better.