It’s easy to establish healthy habits when you’re younger, as your parents are usually the ones who set the examples. As we age, however, it’s easy to abandon a healthy lifestyle and fall into bad habits. Below are five tips to keep your body, mind, and spirit healthy at any age.
All too often we are told to “eat right”, but what does that really mean? Eating healthy isn’t just choosing fruits and vegetables over junk food. One way to stay healthy long term is to switch out sugary beverages (like soda and sports drinks) for water. These sugary drinks are high in calories and low in any actual nutrition for your body. If water is too bland for your palate, try infusing your water with fruits and vegetables! This technique not only brings flavor to your water but also adds vitamins and minerals, which is also a benefit to your body.
Another consideration when it comes to food choices is the amount of sodium you’re consuming. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to headaches, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. To cut down on these risks, take a look at the nutrition facts label, and choose lower sodium versions of foods (look for “low sodium” or “reduced sodium”).
While living for today is great for so many reasons, planning for the future is always beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. Planning provides guidance for action and gives motivation and commitment when it could be lacking.
One way to look forward is to make a list of tasks that you want to accomplish. This could be as simple as cleaning the garage, or as elaborate as remodeling the house or finishing college. This process will help you not only narrow down and keep track of the list of things you want to do but making it tangible aids in the completion process.
Another way to plan for the future is to consider purchasing a life insurance policy. While this does not directly impact your physical wellbeing, this can provide peace of mind by securing a sum of money to be paid out to your family in the case of your passing. While many see smaller policies as a benefit to pay funeral expenses, a more sizable policy can help your family cover lost income and even help pay off other debts. Although you may not want to think about your family without you in it, it’s important to set them up for financial success as early as you can; while this payout will not replace the lost family member, it will certainly help lessen the financial burden.
Deadlines are a tricky thing; they are a necessary evil for most people, but they tend to take a toll on your mental state. Over time, this can become detrimental to your health. One way to improve this is to set task completion times to earlier than initially required, then rewarding yourself for meeting that new time. This will help you get ahead of the deadline versus coming right up to the deadline, which will lessen your stress and increase work productivity.
Another idea to consider is the concept of perfectionism. While striving to do the best you personally can is ideal, understanding that perfectionism is usually caused by an underlying fear of failure or not measuring up can help you navigate your projects. Instead of focusing on your project not being “perfect”, focus on the learning experience that each one provides you. This, in turn, will help remind you that there can be fun and education in each project or task assigned to you.
While perhaps not at the forefront of daily thought, keeping a solid check on your mental health is important to your overall health. Poor mental health can lead to relationship difficulties, weakened immune symptoms, and problems with alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.
One way to keep your mental health thriving is to get plenty of sunlight. Sunlight is a source of vitamin D, which helps your brain release chemicals such as serotonin that can improve your mood. When getting sunlight, make sure to keep skin safe by applying sunscreen and keeping your eyes safe by wearing sunglasses.
Another way to remain mentally healthy is to do something you’re passionate about and good at. While this may sound juvenile, enjoying an activity you’re good at is good for your spirit and can put things into perspective if you’re feeling doubtful about yourself or skills.
No matter your age, physical activity is a crucial part of healthy living. Besides controlling your weight, the benefits of regular exercise also include reducing the risk of heart diseases, and increasing the chances of living longer with stronger bones and muscles. As you age, the type of exercise can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and capabilities. Below are different types of physical activity for every age group, according to the CDC:
- 3-5 years: Physical Activity every day throughout the day, with active play through a variety of enjoyable physical activities
- 6-17 years: 60 mins (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity daily, with a variety of enjoyable physical activities
- 18-64 years: At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking
- 65 years and older: At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking, with a focus on activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot
While these are the recommended standards, keep in mind that limitations may vary and might adjust the type and intensity of your activity. Consult your physician if you have any questions or concerns about your body and physical activity.
While this list is just a beginning to forming healthy habits, it’s important to evaluate your health and always adjust accordingly. Healthy habits are far more inclusive than just the basics, and keeping that in mind is key to living a long robust life.