As the years pass, it may become more and more difficult to maintain overall health. The chaos of juggling a family, climbing a career ladder or managing a mortgage may reduce your ability to stick to a routine. With other challenges on the horizon, following preventative health tips often takes a backseat.
Setting clear wellness goals will make a big difference as you move through the decades. It’s important to remember a healthy brain and body improves functioning in all aspects of your life. If you start a self-care system now, all you’ll have to worry about is some stray grays and a few wrinkles—better known as laugh lines, of course.
Experts have come to a consensus about the most prominent health tips and practices to keep you feeling fresh, young and ready to take on the next task. We’ve curated an outline of basic reminders for a better you.
Check out our top six health tips:
Diet and Exercise
A better diet and more exercise are regarded as the cornerstones of optimal health. But with so many fad diets, exercise tools and general industry mumbo jumbo, it may be hard to find a place to start.
It’s essential to consume fruits, vegetables and whole grains, in addition to protein and vitamins like calcium and B12. According to the American Heart Association, there are a few basic dietary guidelines to stick to:
- Use at least as many calories as you take in
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups
- Eat less of the nutrient-poor foods, such as foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium
When it comes to exercise, research shows that adults should engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three days a week. Of course, it’s important to remember that everyone is different.
Developing a personalized plan based on your age, gender and medical history is the best bet. Also, if you have specific goals for your diet and exercise, like losing weight or getting more toned, Prevention provides a guide on how to target your focus.
A sweet tooth is a common, and seemingly harmless, everyday vice. But the majority of people develop diabetes later in life. In fact, symptoms may not show until you hit your mid-40’s. Type 2 diabetes, also known as gestational diabetes, can sneak up on you and cause serious complications down the line.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can no longer produce the right amount of insulin. A sedentary lifestyle compounded with excess weight and high sugar consumption exacerbates the risk of type 2 diabetes, among other factors.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases provides more than 50 ways to prevent type 2 diabetes, such as reducing portion sizes, dancing regularly and buying a reusable water bottle to deter you from drinking sugary drinks.
If you think you may be at risk for diabetes, you should also follow self-screening instructions available at DoIHavePrediabetes.org and make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible.
As you get older, your bones begin to weaken and become less able to withstand injury. For some, osteoporosis is a looming risk. Ans depending on your age and medical history, a slip or fall could be fatal.
By developing mind and body awareness, you’ll cultivate better balance when cooking, cleaning or on the go. But if you need structure, yoga is a great place to start.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga is one of the top 10 most popular health approaches. Yoga provides clear-cut pose routines to help you stay focused and on your feet.
Even better, you don’t need to sign up for expensive weekly classes. Download free yoga sessions at Yoga Academy, or visit YouTube to start a daily practice at home.
While the promotion may be great for your resume, it might not be the best thing for your health. If you work in an office, it’s likely that you spend a lot of time hunched over a computer screen.
Hunchback, referred to in the scientific community as kyphosis, is the development of an abnormal curvature of the spine. Kyphosis affects the cervical, thoracic and sacral regions. Researchers have linked it to complications such as arthritis, Scheuermann’s disease and osteoporosis.
While yoga helps to release tension in the spine, posture braces may be a good option for when you’re sitting, crunching numbers or staring at a screen. And while a brace may not force your back to stay straight, it will provide a gentle reminder to correct your stance. Spine Universe discusses the benefits of bracing and if it’s an appropriate treatment for you.
Many people are surprised to learn that sex is healthy. Once you’re protected against disease or unintended pregnancy, sex can be healing for both the mind and body.
Regular sexual activity brings a number of positive biological and psychological impacts. One study, published in the Public Library of Science journal, illustrates that sex can be used for cardiovascular exercise. The benefits of sexual activity also include increased circulation, headache relief and improved sleep.
Sex and intimate touch release a hormone called oxytocin, which increases social bonding and reduces stress. According to Healthline, sex has a number of additional benefits, including:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Burning calories
- Increasing heart health
- Strengthening muscles
- Reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension
- Increasing libido
However, as you age, it may be harder to perform in the bedroom. If you’re having difficulties in your sex life, be honest with your partner. Together, you can find a plan to boost your sex life. If you need help working up to open communication, talk to a physician or sex therapist who can offer you resources for dysfunction.
Finding time for yourself on a busy day can be difficult. It may seem like there’s never a moment to relax, take a step back and breathe. Eating right, exercising daily and sleeping at least eight hours each night are essential to overall health. But even if you’re keeping up with the major tenants, there are other parts of self-care that may be left out.
Emerging science has started to confirm the benefits of mindfulness, defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”
Mindfulness cultivates gratitude and encourages you to care for yourself in new ways, mentally and physically. Mindfulness also has other benefits, according to the APA, including:
- Reduced rumination
- Stress reduction
- Boosts to working memory
- More cognitive flexibility
- Relationship satisfaction
- Enhanced insight and intuition
Remember, change takes time. If you have trouble creating a new routine that works for you, don’t be embarrassed to seek help. The organization Find Mindfulness offers introductory courses for daily practices and meditation. However, there are a number of free guided meditations available as online podcasts on YouTube or Spotify.
When your mind and body are working together cohesively, you’re able to be your best self. And that’s something we can all get behind, no matter our age, current habits or everyday challenges. Here’s to a better you!
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