Nobody wants to get older, but it is inevitable. Benjamin Franklin said the only things certain in life were death and taxes, and scientists believe everyone begins working toward death right after puberty. According to an article in the UK’s Daily Mail, research shows that your brain, lungs, and skin all begin to age at 20, and the rest of your body follows suit as the years go by. The best way to combat the signs of aging is to live a healthy lifestyle, which is why health care experts agree that you should ensure your optimal health by following these tips as early as your mid-life years.
1. Eat “Joy Food.” The Washington Post interviewed five health and fitness experts for its article “You’re Middle-Aged—This Is the Perfect Time to Work on Staying Healthy.” As you already know, part of protecting your body from illness is to eat a balanced diet. Did you know, however, that your nutritional needs change as you age? Joy Bauer, a professional nutritionist, explained to the Post that people’s metabolisms slow while they get older. This means you must eat healthier foods to receive the best nutrition possible without consuming too many calories. Naturally, these foods are fruits and vegetables, so eat tons of them daily to stave off aging and protect bone, blood pressure, brain, and joint health.
2. Hang Out With Healthy People. Those studying for their masters in gerontology will likely agree with Dr. Andrew Weil, who says if you wish to develop healthy habits, you must spend time with healthy people. Think about it. If you are still partying with your friends at 50 the same way you partied in your 20s, you’re damaging your body and it cannot recuperate as it used to. Weil, who is the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine director, says if you “maintain social and intellectual connectedness” with the right people, you stand a much better chance of aging healthily. In other words, surround yourself with active people who eat right rather than the burgers-and-beer pack.
3. Keep Your Brain Physically Fit. Many people believe they will stave off the brain aging by playing brain games every day, but Professor Richard A. Friedman says otherwise. According to the Weill Cornell Medical College professor, studies have not confirmed that brain games help improve cognitive function. This doesn’t mean you cannot have fun playing them; it simply means you aren’t receiving the medical benefit you might think you are receiving. Rather, Friedman recommends physical exercise, as many studies have confirmed that fitness does help your memory and cognitive speed. If you’re looking to keep your brain in great shape well past your 20s, workout instead of playing games.
4. Don’t Overdo It. This does not mean, however, that you should run a marathon. The older you get, the more difficult it will be to exercise at the fitness level you maintained in your younger years. Nonetheless, exercise is crucial to healthy Golden Years, and Gunnar Peterson, a personal trainer who keeps people in Los Angeles looking their best, says you should “focus more on recovery,” rather than bodybuilding or endurance, for example. Recovery means you are performing bodywork, such as weight lifting and balance exercises, but you are also emphasizing proper hydration and sleep so you recover better from your exercise routine.
The best tip of all is to stay on top of your health. Dr. Kenneth Lin, who not only practices family medicine but also teaches at Georgetown University School of Medicine, recommends annual trips to your doctor after you turn 60 years old. This ensures you receive all of the preventative screening you need to make certain you are the healthiest you can be in your older years.