Aging is inevitable. And with aging comes body aches, issues, and diseases that can cut our lives short or make our remaining years miserable. No one wants to go through life with health issues. The good news is that how you live your life now can help delay and prevent pains and dysfunctions later in life. Healthy living now can save your future self a lot of pain (as well as money). Whether you’re older or younger, here are five body parts to focus on now in order to live a longer, healthier life.
Two million people require coronary artery stents every year. Heart problems are some of the most serious medical conditions you could face. No one wants to have a stent or bypass surgery in their lifetime.
Take care of your heart by:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet. A healthy diet for the heart consists of different foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Cut down on salty foods like salted meats and avoid loading your foods with salty condiments like soy sauce.
- If overweight, lose weight. Obesity can often lead to heart conditions, so if overweight, fight hard to lose those pounds. Eat a low-fat diet and workout regularly. Though it might be daunting, you can get and keep the weight off.
- Exercise regularly. If you learn anything from this post, know that regular exercise can help prevent many heart diseases. You don’t have to work out seven days a week; just 15-30 minutes a day for three days a week can make a huge difference. Get moving.
Back pains and aches are prevalent in people of all ages. Back problems can range from minor soreness to curvatures requiring adult scoliosis surgery. Either way, you want to take great care of your back – especially when you’re young.
Here are some ways to prioritize back health:
- Watch your posture when seated. Especially as more people are working from home and spending days lounging around, proper posture is vital. Use chairs with back support and sit in them so that your feet can rest flat on the floor with your knees and hips level.
- Stand tall. Though posture suffers most often when seated, standing with poor posture can lead to back pains as well. When standing tall, you should be able to draw a line down through your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle.
- Lift correctly. Lifting heavy objects incorrectly – whether working out or moving furniture – can cause serious long term back problems. Always bend at your knees and your hips, and maintain the normal curve of your low back.
- Remain active. It’s no surprise this will help the longevity of your back. The majority of back pain will likely reduce with gentle movements, stretching, and walking.
Your brain is one of the most important parts of your body, and when it doesn’t function properly, nearly nothing can work right. Brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s affect many people across the world. But taking good care of your mind can help delay or prevent these conditions.
Here are some ways to take good care of your brain:
- Exercise. Exercising for at least 15 minutes at least three times a week lowers the risk of developing dementia by 30 to 40 percent.
- Get good sleep. Sleep quality is often overlooked due to full schedules and busy routines. But make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to keep your brain at its best.
- Avoid head injuries. Sometimes you’ll have no control, but taking care to avoid head injuries should be part of your everyday routine. Wear helmets when participating in potentially dangerous activities, drive safely to avoid accidents, and – if at all possible – avert serious falls at all costs.
- Keep your mind sharp. Especially as you age, make sure to keep your brain active. Instead of always defaulting to television, read more often, do puzzles, try Sudoku, or take up journaling to keep your mental health sharp.
Many adults wind up requiring knee replacements later in life. This can be painful surgery and recovery can take quite some time for many patients. It is not a fun predicament.
Here are some ways to keep your knees healthy and strong:
- Strengthen your leg muscles. Focus on exercises that engage your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and hips. Don’t skip leg day.
- Remain active. Don’t just focus on these muscles, but remain generally active at all times. Staying sedentary can lead to stiffness which often leads to injury.
- Stretch your leg muscles. Consider incorporating yoga into your exercise routine, or at least spend some time stretching your legs two to three times each week.
- Be cautious when playing sports. Any sport that involves quick start-and-stop movements can take a toll on your knees (think football, basketball, and tennis). You don’t have to stop playing these sports to keep healthy knees, but be aware of how they feel, and always be careful.
Though usually less painful and void of expensive surgery, skin diseases can be inconvenient and humiliating. Many elderly develop skin diseases, especially late in life.
But thankfully, they can be avoided and further delayed by taking care of our skin.
- Wear sunscreen. This is the best thing you can do for your skin over the course of your life. Don’t allow it to be damaged by the sun. Even when it’s inconvenient, always protect your skin when in the sun.
- Avoid dryness. Prolonged dry skin can be very harmful to your skin. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid long and hot showers, and moisturize your skin regularly.
- Be aware. Pay close attention to abnormalities on your skin, as these can often signal a bigger problem. So be aware of any changes to your skin so you can get ahead of problems before they get severe.
Eat healthily, exercise regularly, and stay safe. If you do these things, you’ll be doing your future body a lot of good.