Just as healthy money habits can make you wealthy over time, healthy living habits can keep you living younger longer. Oh, I don’t mean you can stop or turn back the clock, but you can keep yourself in shape to pursue the things you want and need to do.
I’m 63, but according to the quiz at Biological Age.com my biological age is 53. Here are the things I do to try to live younger longer.
Having friends and being around others is a huge factor not only in living younger longer but also in living happier longer. I have a loving spouse and am surrounded by family as well as online and offline friends and acquaintances. That said, I could get together with my friends and acquaintances more often if I would stop staring at this darned computer screen!
I have done morning exercise tapes, dvds and etc in my home every day since 1984. While I worked outside the home, I usually did a half hour to 45 minutes.
While working I either walked at lunch or worked out at the downtown gym. I also participated in the corporate challenge – in the running events.
Since retiring, I have kept up my morning exercise routine but have added to it so that I now work out 45 minutes to an hour and a half, doing a variety of routines that include cardio, strength training, weight lifting, stretch (including yoga) and balance activities. I also have added an outside walking in our woods routine – 1 – 3 miles a couple of times a week.
Still, that is nothing compared to my spouse. He works all day long outside, walking, mowing, sawing, chopping, planting and watering stuff on our 6 + acres.
I’m not the best example on nutrition and I do love to eat a tad too much. Menopause did me in as far as weight gain goes. I’m seriously working on losing weight. Still, I’m not as overweight as most of the folks I see around me.
That said, I don’t eat out more than 10 – 12 times a year. I don’t eat red meat or even pork more than once a week or so. I do eat fruits and vegetables and am trying to up my servings of those. I love chicken, but combine it with pastas and rice for the most part.
My downfalls are sweets and salt snacks. I could probably shave a couple more years off my biological age on that quiz if I used the Mediterranean diet pyramid and severely limited intake on these two items.
Supplements are something that you might consider as well, with your doctor’s agreement. I do take a multi vitamin, a fish oil pill (I just don’t like the taste of fish so I don’t eat much) and calcium pills.
Drinking water helps maintain our body fluid balance, fills us up so we don’t eat as much, helps our kidneys excrete waste and helps prevent constipation. I drink at least 5 (8 ounce) glasses a day.
Of course, I also drink a few cups of coffee and diet soda each day as well. In the evenings I enjoy one glass of sweet red wine most days.
You can also get fluids through food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables.
Genetics & Preventative Care
Being aware of your family history and taking action on that knowledge is important in living younger longer. For instance, I have a family history of colon cancer – from multiple direct ancestors on each side of the family tree. I would be pretty stupid not to get that lovely colonoscopy every few years. In point of fact, I myself have had polyps removed which could have been silent deadly killers.
I walk so much, in part, because I also have a family history of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. According to Web MD, walking helps to:
- “Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit”
Going in for those tooth cleanings, xrays and checkups can help keep your teeth intact for life. To me that’s an important item – as Mom died with only 4 and Dad had all of his pulled due to gingivitis. He had to wear dentures when in his early 60’s!
An annual physical can help identify problems before they turn deadly serious.
Mom and her sister died from complications of hip surgery after falls broke their hip. They both had osteoporosis. My GYN recommended a bone density scan after I went through menopause, and sure enough, I had it too. Today, there are bone re-building medicines available and I went on them for a few years. Today I have re-built my bone loss and take in a lot of extra calcium and do weight bearing exercise (like my walking) to make sure it stays built.
Of course, on the downer side, there are diseases that truly are silent killers. Pancreatic cancer can take a life in a matter of weeks and you don’t get much, if any, warning of it. But, we should take reasonable measures to try to identify diseases and conditions that can be circumvented, right?
Other Healthy Habits
The book, Living Young, 32 Habits of aAgeless People by Andy Troy lists and explains many of my habits above and also suggests things such as:
- wearing comfortable clothing
- being happy
- wearing sunscreen
- washing hands often
- removing clutter
- drinking green tea (hey, I do this one too!)
- petting the dog
- listening to music
- getting massages
What’s your biological age? What habits keep you healthy?