Healthy Living: The Key to Maintaining Your Youth

Fun Ways To Stay Active

No matter how young or old you are, nothing impacts your overall health more than the lifestyle choices you make each day. Consciously choosing to live a healthier lifestyle comes with proven benefits for our personal, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. Simply being told to live a healthier lifestyle by your friends, family, or doctor doesn’t give you enough information to make better, more informed choices. Healthy living isn’t just about knowing what to give up, it’s also about knowing what to keep and what to add.

A healthy lifestyle is all about maintaining your body at its optimum level. The most productive way to promote a healthier you is through regular exercise. Exercise forces your body to convert that stubborn, stored fat into energy you burn off during the course of your workout. Talk to your doctor before you head over to the gym just to make sure you set a routine that’s right for you: not too easy, not too hard, but just right. The end results of just a couple weeks’ worth of increased physical activity can be seen easily, but there’s a second, equally important component of exercise that’s often overlooked: stress reduction.

Our bodies are built to handle stressful situations for limited times. Too often though, this modern era of “more, faster, better” at our jobs or at home subject the body to extremes of stress it was never meant to handle. The results of this added stress range from weight gain and high blood pressure to depression and a weakened immune system. Regular exercise works to counteract the stress-related problems we suffer from daily life, resulting in not only positive physical benefits, but also a healthier mental state. Stress deletes years from our lives―getting rid of it helps keep us young longer.

Eating well provides the third key to maintaining our youth. Healthy alternatives to our modern-day diets (traditionally high in fats, sugars and sodium) help our bodies produce and utilize the necessary vitamins and minerals we need to get the most out of our day. A diet that includes a healthy breakfast in the morning, smaller-portioned meals throughout the day, and regular intake of fruits and vegetables is a proven key to preventing diabetes, cancer, heart disease, strokes, and even the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Changing a diet isn’t easy, so it’s also important to include variety in your meals. Your dog might eat the same food every day quite happily, but humans require an assortment of tastes and sensations in our food. A dull diet is one step away from a done diet. Give yourself enough options to last several weeks or a month without repeating to ensure lunch hour never gets boring. Also, give yourself permission to indulge once in awhile. Just because you’re eating healthier doesn’t mean never enjoying a slice of pizza or a stunning dessert. Moderation means that treat tastes all the sweeter when you know you’ve earned it.

Understanding the risks to your health are one thing; taking action to reduce those risks is another. Thanks to modern medicine and science, we’re living longer lives. But our physical, emotional, and mental states determine how many benefits we reap during that longer life. Swapping a hearty bowl of fruit oatmeal for that traditional morning donut, dusting off that bicycle in the garage for a ride three or four times a week, and cutting back on cigarettes can add years, potentially decades, to our lives. As an added bonus, we’ll know when our friends tell us how great we’re looking that they’re being sincere, and not just making polite conversation. And that’s something we love hearing at any age.