Everyone wants to age well, this should be no secret. Just turn on the TV, open a magazine, and see a bevvy of products, pills, and concoctions claiming to help you stave off old Father Time. This billion dollar industry is definitely getting some people on board, but in reality, there’s nothing in a bottle that prevents ungraceful aging more than making a few healthy decisions NOW, while you still have time.
These 7 things are desigend to keep your insides heatlhy, your outside beautiful and raidant, and improve your ability to stay active, independent, and mobile well into your golden years. Thesse tips aren’t for those of us already into our 40’s – a lot of these lifestyle changes should be implemented in your early 20’s. Your body will remember everything, whether your brain does or not. Start making the healthy changes now and spend your later years in good health and free from many of the debilitating conditions that are largely avoidable.
1. De-Stress. Not only does stress cause mental anguish, it also has physical consequences that cannot be ignored. Stress leads to weight gain and fat retention, especially around our midsection. As you’re mother has probably told you before, stress also leads to a suppressed immune system and leaves you susceptible to illness. A person who has been chronically stressed their entire life will physically look much different than a person who has found a way to manage their stress. Find a way to manage and/or prevent stress in your life NOW. Start taking yoga, practicing breathing techniques, exploring Eastern philosophies, or whatever else it takes to help you end the cycle of chronic stress. Kill the stress before it kills you.
2. HIIT Cardio. I preach this a lot, but it’s because it’s so important. If you’re even a casual SIF reader, you should know that HIIT helps you burn more fat, build more lean muscle, and keep your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape. What’s more, since HIIT cardio allows you to do more work in less time, you’re better able to protect your knees and other various joints from the long bouts of pounding slow and steady cardio deliver. By keeping cardio sessions short and sweet, you’ll be able to exercise harder and longer into your life. It’s often been said that long and slow cardio, i.e. jogging for an hour or more, is a long slow death. Your joints can only handle so much pounding over the course of your life, so be smart about it and start training in HIIT format to ensure you aren’t hobbling around by the time you hit your 50’s.
3. Weight Training with a Purpose. This one is important. Instead of just “weight training”, it’s vital that you weight train with a purpose. Moving around 5lb dumbbells isn’t going to do anything. You’ve got to lift with a purpose. You want to add lean muscle mass and develop a killer physique? Okay, well start performing a variety of exercises, increas your weights when it’s time, and experiment with different lifting techniques. Forget the big and bulky nonsense you hear; you aren’t going to get big and bulky if you aren’t eating to get big and bulky. Lifting weights has the benefit of strengthening your bones (which is especially important for women), adding muscle mass to your frame, and helping to increase your metabolism and fat burn potential.
4. Intermittent Fasting. There has been much studied and written about the concept of intermittent fasting over the years. The idea of taking a full fast every few days is beginning to catch on due to it’s weight loss and health benefits. Studies have shown that lower caloric consumption over a lifetime leads to a longer life, less age-related illness, and better body function well into old age. Get yourself into the habit of taking a fast every so often and experience the benefits of maintaining a happy and healthy weight now…and look forward to not spending your later years sick and confined to a hospital bed.
5. Protect your Skin. The sun can be a killer and years of exposure will turn your young, beautiful and raidant skin into something that looks like it should be used for luggage. Protect yourself, even if it’s with a SPF moisturizer every time you go out. I realize applying SPF every time your in the sun is a hassle, but if you get into the habit of doing it now, you’ll be thanking yourself years down the road. One of the greatest indicators of aging is the appearance of one’s skin. Protect your skin now and postpone wrinkles, sun spots, and sagging that will make you look older than you really are.
6. More Veggies – Less Meat. Simple taking a fast every few days isn’t enough. On days that you are eating, make an effort to rework the make up of your diet. Americans are eating far too much meat as it is, a great deal of it coming by way of the highly-processed variety. Make concious efforts now to include all colors of fruits and veggies into your diet and scale back on the meat consumption. A diet heavy on meats, especially red and highly processed have been linked to various forms of cancer and other debilitating conditions as you age. The healthiest people on the planet, also known as Blue Zoners, have been found to maintain diets consisting largely of fresh produce, complex grains, and moderate animal protein consumption.
7. Sugar is the Devil. That statement may seem a little overboard, but sugar truly is one of the worst substances for your body. It contains no nutritional value, spikes blood sugar levels which in turn make you fat, feeds cancer cells, harms your heart, increases your risk for diabetes….you get the point. To make matters worse, in our society, sugar is everywhere. From sauces, to fruity drinks, to cereals, food manufacturer’s are putting it everywhere because they know our palette has grown accustomed to it. Start drinking more water in place of juices, read food labels, and slowly but steadily ween yourself off your sugar dependence.