Eternal youth, health and beauty. That’s the dream, right? Live a long, healthy, and happy life. While it may not be as simple as sipping a drink from The Fountain of Youth, slowing the aging process and living a longer, healthier life is more attainable than one may think.
What happens to our bodies as we age?
As our bodies age, virtually every part of us is breaking down and becoming weaker. From the cardiovascular system, bones and joints, to memory and physical aging, the human body becomes less able to repair itself, leading to what we know as aging.
The human body is interconnected in extreme ways, causing multiple parts of the body to be affected when something happens to one. When our bones and muscles start to lose their strength, it begins to affect our balance and coordination, making it harder to get around, and over time ultimately depleting the quality of life..
Many diseases and underlying health conditions propel your body into aging. From Alzheimer’s and heart disease, to respiratory infections, your body goes through a lot as it ages, making it important to take care of every aspect of it throughout life.
Let’s be honest, there is not anyone who truly likes to go to the doctor. To most, it is a burden to take a trip to the doctor’s office, especially when you are not sick or injured. However, going in for routine check-ups and getting yourself checked out when something feels off decreases your chance of unexpected diseases and problems. Catching a condition early or finding out what you are at risk for based on your genetics provides you with the tools you need to live a longer life.
Avoiding toxins such as drugs and cigarettes, along with enjoying alcohol only in moderation, are keys to living longer. It is no secret that cigarettes are practically an aging stick since nicotine narrows the blood vessels, making it difficult for nutrients to reach the skin, causing wrinkles and deep lines. Smoking can lead to cancer, lung disease, heart disease and plenty more issues, making cigarettes the number one thing to cut out if you want to prolong your life.
Your mouth is a map of your overall health, making maintaining oral health a huge piece in slowing the aging process. Without proper oral hygiene, many health concerns can arise including oral infections that source from inflammation and bacteria. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and digestion issues can all root from oral problems. Keeping up with oral hygiene and taking regular trips to the dentist can prevent an oral-related disease or help you catch one before it evolves into something more.
Your physical health is debatably the most important aspect when working to maintain overall health. How you feel and the way you look are directly correlated to your physical health.. What you put into your body and how you exert your energy determines the state of your physical health.
Gut health is extremely important to focus on as we age because the way we digest our food changes and slows down. Our stomachs produce less acid as we age, making it a longer and more difficult process to break down food. This leads to constipation and problems with digesting medications. To promote gut health, taking a digestive agent and probiotics to aid in digestion is recommended, along with sticking to raw and natural foods and drinking plenty of water. Cutting out processed foods that are already hard for our bodies to digest, and replacing them with fruits, vegetables and healthy fats puts your body on the right track to remain healthy, longer.
Wearing sunscreen is another huge factor for slowing the aging process on the outside. Years of time spent in the sun leads to wrinkles and too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, a disease that nearly 1 in every 5 Americans will develop in their lifetime. Taking supplements like Omega 3 (fish oil) can help keep your skin stay youthful and hair stay healthier. If you want your face to age gracefully, sunscreen, water, and a healthy diet are your best friends.
Ever wonder why your grandma seems to shrink every time you see her? As we grow older, our bones, muscles and joints begin to deteriorate. Maintaining an active lifestyle can promote stronger bones and help your body be able to function for longer. Strength training like lifting weights and doing bodyweight bearing exercises is important in keeping muscles strong, and leads to less limitation later in life. Taking a muscle recovery agent after exercise and having a balanced amount of protein in your diet will help keep your body even stronger. Exercising releases stress and promotes a more positive mindset.
Keeping your mind active and creating a happy, positive mindset helps extend our time on Earth. The human brain may not be a muscle, but it acts like one in the sense that if you don’t exercise it and challenge your mind, it will grow weaker. Stimulating your brain through reading, doing puzzles, playing cards, listening to music, and even learning a new skill, will help keep your brain engaged and allow it to function on a higher level. Engaging your brain reduces your risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Getting enough sleep is crucial when it comes to mental health and overall happiness. Lack of sleep can lead to memory loss and cognitive function issues. This can affect our decision-making skills and our drive and will to do our daily activities. Enough sleep leads to higher energy levels and better overall health, which in turn can help you look younger..
A healthy mindset is essential to living a longer life. Depression and anxiety are extremely common and become more intense as a person ages. Reaching fulfillment in life and continuing to set and work towards goals leads to a healthy mindset and happier life. Reducing stress by talking about how you feel, going on daily walks outdoors, and limiting environments that are triggering, are fundamental parts to slowing down aging. Spending time with friends and family, getting out of the house, and surrounding yourself with young people and fresh ideas, will help keep your mind active and healthy, propelling the quality of life.
Aging is absolutely inevitable. It is a part of our journey as humans, and something we all must face. If you take today as your first day of promoting your health and taking the steps towards slowing down the aging process, you are already on the right track. As you go through your daily routine, be mindful of your choices and remember that your body is your home and you only get one, so treat it right, nourish it, and listen to it.