Some people believe that aging is inevitable and that to stay young forever is impossible. But, the science of aging is continually advancing and we are gradually learning what can be done to stay young–or at least a little younger–forever.
Don’t smoke. Period. It increases free radicals, which lead to cell death, it wrecks your lungs so you can’t exercise and it affects your social life.
Eat your essential fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends you eat fish twice a week to get enough omega-3, omega-6 and DHA into the body. It helps cells be flexible and permeable and has been shown to be an important part of the cells of the nervous system, blood vessels and skin. That means they help with the wrinkles and the brains, isn’t that perfect? Oily fish is the best, but not because it’s deep fried with chips.
Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight is hard on the joints and it’s hard on the heart that has to work overtime to carry the extra weight. Not only that, but fat can sit in nasty places like artery walls where it stops blood from getting where it needs to go. Heart attacks are not very youthful. Underweight isn’t much better. Bones and muscles get robbed of building material to give the rest of the body energy. It wrecks your kidneys and can lead to early menopause and osteoporosis.
Include lots of colorful vegetables in your diet, especially orange and yellow ones, which are a high source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which means it can fight free radicals in the body. It helps the body’s cells stay on a normal healthy path rather than wander off and die or become cancerous. Beta carotene also is converted into vitamin A, which helps keep your skin young and your eyes working.
Work your heart. Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise is a workout that makes your heart muscle pump a little harder for a period of time. By keeping the heart muscle in shape, it is less likely to deteriorate. By keeping the heart muscle strong and pumping, blood pressure is lowered and blood flows to more places in the body. Blood flow to the skin, the brain and the digestive system, are healthy, youthful body attributes.
Stay strong. Do weight training at least twice a week. Strong muscles lead to strong bones, which don’t break as easily. Broken hips make you feel old. Strong muscles give you independence to do simple things like open jars and chop wood.
Balance. Balance deteriorates with age, but it can be trained and maintained. Practicing balance by doing yoga or dancing or even standing on one leg in the kitchen is great neuromuscular exercise. In other words it keeps the body and brain in touch. If you have balance you reduce your chances of falling and testing your bones for strength.
Think. Use your brain to learn, do crossword puzzles, math problems or simply read stimulating material. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Research has consistently shown that older adults who are regularly stimulating their brains are less prone to mental deterioration.
Be young. Laugh, dance, visit, and explore new things. Attitude is everything.