Ask anyone and they’re likely to tell you that they want to maintain optimal health and live a long, mobile life. Odds are that if someone only specifies one of the two, it’s not an intentional thing – because the typical person really does want both as a set. Healthy lives are expected to turn into long ones, and fulfilling ones at that. By the same token, long lives aren’t particularly enjoyable without health – would you want to live to a hundred but suffer from arthritic joints and the like for the latter thirty of those years? As such, the plan really hinges on managing to obtain both – being as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Fascinatingly enough, we know enough about the human body to anticipate what problems occur at specific points in our life spans – and as such we can afford to think ahead, identifying practices to focus on at all points of our lives, and others that become particularly important at certain ages. Following these practices will most likely contribute to our being able to maintain health in various aspects of living at any age. Good health includes being able to potentially sidestep the likelihood of chronic disease and other unpleasantness as we grow older.
Maintain Optimal Health – Things You Can Do at Any Age
- Change up the diet. Start while you’re young if you can, of course, but at any age if you do this and keep to it, it’ll be of help down the line. Incorporate a variety of foods – the old food pyramid will continue to serve you well – and don’t just get locked into the usual. Try to focus on fruits and vegetables, with occasional meat and grain. Don’t neglect seafood. The variety will expose you to a multitude of nutrients and nutritional benefits just as varied – the omega-3 fatty acids in fish and the anti-inflammatory properties in various vegetables and even spices will surprise you.
- If you’re considering grain, go with whole grain over processed. Processed grain tends to cut the integrity of the grain itself down by a bit, with the added complication of added sugar. Whole grain will give your digestive system a better workout and give you more of the authentic nutritional benefit without the added impact of increased sugar intake.
- Get some work in. Even 30 or so minutes (or more if you can manage it) of moderate exercise per day. This will help you maintain a reasonably healthy weight as well as a fairly good level of cardio endurance overall – if your body gets used to a certain level of exertion it’s less likely to get bogged down by that or less later on. If you’re actively trying to lose weight, of course, you’ll need to put in a bit more.
Optimal Health – What to Do in Your 30’s
One important thing to take note of is that this point in a person’s life is usually accompanied by weight gain of various extents. It’s practically inevitable – either a person settles down and shifts their focus to family life and responsibilities, or they reach a level of professional development that has them swamped at a similar rate. Either way, the time and inclination (let’s be honest) to exercise is drastically reduced, which coincides with the individual’s metabolism having slowed down considerably from the peak pace it hit in adolescence. This results in weight gain, which opens the door to a number of potential followup problems.
- Look for opportunities to get more movement in your day. Take the stairs if that’s an option, park farther away from work so you get to walk there and then back after. In addition to this, you can try getting back into the groove of an old sport you enjoyed before work and life stacked their blocks on your schedule. Try swapping out your coffee break for an exercise break, which wakes you up about as much and gets your blood circulating while keeping you from downing more and more caffeine. This is a surprisingly crucial age for activity – it’s a vital point to commit to exercise before the bad habits begin to set in.
- Continue to vary up your diet, with an eye for less protein (you need it far less now than you did when your body was developing rapidly) and more calcium (bone density has probably peaked by now so supplementing it is key) and, of course, fruits and vegetables. Women will benefit from supplementing their folate intake, as a deficiency could result in pregnancy problems or even heightened risk of premature birth.
Maintain Optimal Health In Your 40’S
This is where the metabolism slows down even more, with muscle mass also being shed over time – about 10% a decade. Get regular screenings – women in particular should get annual mammograms and clinical breast examinations.
- Reducing intake is the best way to address the reduced metabolism. Since the metabolism is slower, if you keep eating as much as you used to then the pounds will stack up. Disease risks are higher at this point, so eliminating the obesity/weight risk factor will be the smartest possible move. Eat smaller portions and cut down on full-fat dairy, salt, and refined sugar in your diet. This will help minimize the risk of heart ailments, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- Endurance exercise can help offset the slowed-down metabolism. Additionally, look into resistance training to get your metabolism back up to a decent level.
Optima Health In Your 50’S
If you haven’t been following the above advice through the years, the likelihood of heart disease will be much higher at this point – by default, the risk is present simply because you’re getting older. If you have, however, this is where you’ll see the benefits as you’ll have kept your organs in good shape.
- Maintain optimal health by keeping track of your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and take whatever means — diet and exercise — to keep them as low as possible.
- Women will have to deal with menopause at this stage, and the assorted concerns that come with it. The risk of osteoporosis goes way up once menopause sets in, so keep up a good calcium intake. Exercise can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
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