Here is a list of factors that cause people to physically and mentally feel the effects of advancing years—and simple tips for reducing their impact:
- Move More: Physical neglect as the number one thing that accelerates age and is associated with the vast majority of chronic diseases. Even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still things you can do to stay active. Pay attention to your posture—keep your shoulders back, stand and sit up taller, and don’t slouch. Take deeper breaths. Always walk as if you’re going to be late for a meeting or an appointment, and look for ways to insert small bouts of physical activity into your day.
- Massage Your Mind: Mental neglect comes in a close second to physical disuse in the rankings of factors that make us feel older. Keep your brain working. Instead of vegging out in front of the TV, tackle a Sudoku puzzle, knock out a few chapters of that book club book you promised you’d read, commit to learning a new hobby. Anything that forces your brain to work in a way that it normally wouldn’t.
- Stress Less: Chronic stress can lead to inflammation and metabolic malfunctioning. Identify the things that stress you out, anticipate when they will occur, and take steps to manage your response. Take deep breaths, meditate, participate in a yoga class—whatever helps you feel more calm and centered.
- Eat Smarter:Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins—you’ve heard the balanced nutrition spiel before. Another way to optimize your eating plan is to munch more mindfully and slowly. Recognize the rule of halves: half of the pleasure of eating happens in the first bite and is then reduced by half with each subsequent mouthful.
There’s no magic cure for aging, but making small, simple lifestyle changes can improve your physical and mental well being.