If you’re in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, you may not have given much thought to your health in later life. The trouble is that we’re all too familiar with the concept of time flying, and the days of being young and sprightly are limited. Aging is inevitable, but there are ways of boosting your health for years to come. It’s never too early to start looking after yourself and giving yourself the best chance of steering clear of health problems later in life. Here are some simple lifestyle changes you can make now to benefit you for decades to come.
Exercise has a range of benefits for people of all ages. If you assume that you’re fit and healthy just because you’re a normal weight and you don’t tend to catch every ailment flying around the office, you may be adopting an optimistic outlook on your health. If you’re inactive, this can be very harmful to your health. In fact, inactivity can be more hazardous than obesity. The CDC advises 150 minutes of exercise per week to lower the risk of heart disease, strokes, some types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise can also help to strengthen your bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis, a condition, which tends to be more common in older people. If your daily exercise quota consists of a walk from the parking lot to the office, it’s time to get moving. Walk or cycle to work, take a class during your lunch break or before you head home and try and be more active in your spare time. Go for a bike ride or a hike, hire some kayaks or take up yoga or Latin dancing. If you start exercising now, your mind and body will thank you later.
Keep your brain active
Dementia is a very common condition among older people. More than 5.5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in the US alone. Dementia affects people to different degrees, and it can progress gradually, but often, those who have dementia require skilled nursing and round-the-clock care. It’s not possible to prevent every case of dementia, but studies suggest that keeping your brain active can be beneficial. If you usually spend your commute texting friends or looking through photos on Instagram, start doing a crossword in the paper or doing puzzles or playing games on an app. If you can solve problems and boost your memory, this will help you in later life.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable premature death in US adults. It’s not easy to quit smoking, but if you do manage to give up, this will have incredible benefits for your health, both now and in the future. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis, as well as respiratory conditions. If you do want to kick the habit, see your doctor. There are treatments, therapies and self-help techniques available that could make the process easier.
You may not be thinking about getting old, but aging is something that will affect all of us. Making simple changes to your lifestyle now could really make a positive difference to your health in years to come.