We are all getting older, and getting older invariably has implications for health that you never would have imagined in your youth. Chances are, as well, that you’re a fairly average human being living somewhere in the West, engaging in a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle that is statistically likely send you to a miserable early grave.
Thankfully there are healthy habits you can form to avert the diseases of civilization for as long as possible. These healthy habits are as much about taking care of your body as they are taking care of your mind, and they all have a dramatic impact on the quality and longevity of your life. Implement them into your daily routine — starting now — to help you lead a healthier, happier life.
Get your stress under control
Stress might seem unimportant to younger generations, but they are often the ones struggling with chronic stress and the damage that elevated cortisol levels brings with it. Some of the conditions that stress can cause are cognitive impairments, heart disease, and depression.
Stress can also act as a multiplier effects on the inevitable ravages of the aging process. Want to postpone that wrinkle another decade and be generally healthier? Of course you do.
So take time out of your life to discovertechniques to help you manage your stress like meditation, yoga, or nature walks. Find hobbies and activities that help you take your mind off things you find upsetting for hours at a time.
If stress still makes your everyday life difficult, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional and sign up for therapy. It’s not for wimps or deranged people! Having someone to talk to about anything at all just might be what you need to find peace and gain more clarity. Just the act of spilling your guts to another person has been proven to be extremely therapeutic and stress relieving.
And make every night a good night
Getting plenty of good sleep is as important to health and longevity as diet, yet modernity keeps making quality sleep ever more elusive. If you do not get enough rest at night, you could face serious health conditions later in your life. To prevent that, you should take steps to improve the quality of your sleep even while you’re young and still think you’re invincible.
- Include some kind of exercise (even if light) in your daily routine.
- Avoid using devices with screens just before you go to bed.
- Limit your caffeine intake in the afternoon, and make sure that you do not eat shortly before you go to sleep.
- Do a calming routine or ritual just before tucking in. Activities like taking a bath or other relaxation techniques not only immediately helps your body get ready to sleep; the ritual itself can help the body learn to recognize what’s coming.
- Make sure your bedroom provides the ideal conditions for sleeping: silence and darkness. If you do not like total darkness, consider buying one of those LED candles that flicker and provide a cozy environment.
- If you suspect that you might be suffering from sleep apnea or other conditions, discuss the issue with your doctor.
Be medically proactive — even dentally!
How’s that for a section title. Even if you do not feel any pain, you should visit your doctor and dentist regularly. Your dentist will be able to find any starting cavities and help you to prevent some of the more serious gum diseases from appearing. However, many people can also struggle with crooked teeth and, as a result, low self-esteem.
Try to find medical professionals that you really like and trust, and get to know them a little bit. There is evidence that patients who keep seeing the same physician across time every time they seek care have a lower mortality rate:
A genuine bond with their doctors, the researchers suggests, makes patients feel comfortable to reveal non-strictly medical aspects of their lives that nonetheless may affect their health; and this enables physicians to make ever more informed decisions in providing holistic, comprehensive care.
Earlier research, reported The Guardian, had already shown that what’s known as “continuity of care” is linked to patients better following medical directives, a better uptake of vaccines and fewer visits to the emergency room. Now the quality of the doctor-patient relationship is shown to affect the patients’ death rate.
Keep your back on your side
Back issues have become more prominent as technology has become more widespread, and some form of back pain is a fairly common condition for all age cohorts above children. Our busy office lives can make it easy to forget about posture and other habits that are healthy for your back. By adopting the right habits, you will be able to keep your back healthy and prevent more serious conditions in the future.
- Learn how to lift children and heavy things carefully.
- Improve your posture not only when you are walking but also when you are sitting. Remind yourself often to sit up with your back straight, with your shoulders back and your buttocks almost touching the back of your chair.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Get up walk around a bit.
- Work core exercises into your regular exercise. Strengthening your core with planks, supermans, “ski jumps,” and hip abduction and adduction can help to ward off issues with your back.
- Consider using a lumbar roll or other orthopedically assisted sitting technology.
- Or ask your boss for a standing desk!
You will be able to see the difference in the long run and maintain good back health as you age.
Focus on your mental health
Your mental and physical health are closely connected and influence each other. Society is slowly opening up to more debates about mental health, and it is no longer taboo to admit that you are struggling.
Still, workplaces are more demanding than ever, and all the bad news and the ever-changing world can be highly stressful. Parents might be worried about their children and providing them with a good life. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other conditions might influence your mental health.
If you find yourself struggling, consider getting in touch with a professional and attending therapy. You will get an educated opinion and techniques to improve your situation. However, you should take steps to improve your stress management and find out what calms you down. Do not suffer alone. There are people who are able and willing to help you.
Improve your diet and take steps to prevent and combat obesity
Obesity is one of the most common diseases of civilization, and it’s causing a myriad of serious health issues sending many of us to an early grave. Many people still do not take it as seriously as they should — thanks in part to a complicit media afraid to tell audiences “hurtful” truths (see graphic).
Obesity is almost always caused by poor lifestyle choices and an overindulgence in processed frankenfoods full of refined sugars and weird chemicals we haven’t evolved to consume. No matter what your cause of putting on the pounds may be — or even if you’re just skin and bones — you should still try to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat nutritious, balanced meals. Here are some tips:
- Avoid snacking throughout the day as keeping your insulin elevated for long periods of time is very damaging and can eventually lead to prediabetes and diabetes.
- Try out intermittent fasting. IM gives your guts time to rest — and it’s only hard at first!
- Systematically test elimination of some foods from your diet to see if any of them caused issues (such as inflammation or poor digestion) for you that you thought originated somewhere else or that you may even have become accustomed to thinking is normal.
- Associate your healthiest meals with something extremely pleasurable. Save up an episode of your favorite show, or time it so that you can watch the sunset. This can help rewire your brain to enjoy healthy meals more than unhealthy ones, and maybe eventually switch over entirely.
- Try to be more active and make some kind of physical exercise or sport a part of your daily routine.
- Also focus on the quality of your sleep and stress levels as mentioned earlier, which in addition to helping you avoid snacking to cope brings with it a million other health benefits.
In the end, making healthier choices make you feel healthier, happier, and more productive. Embark on your health journey today — not tomorrow.
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