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It’s Never Too Late: Simple Healthful Lifestyle Changes Can Make A Difference

7 months, 4 weeks ago

7794  0
Posted on Nov 17, 2023, 4 p.m.

Just because your biological clock may be ticking doesn’t mean that you have to age unhealthy, with a few healthful lifestyle changes and a little work you can improve your health to have a longer and better quality of life. Sorry folks, there are no shortcuts. 

Anti-aging research such as the study in which WHN/A4M co-founders Dr. Robert Goldman and Dr. Ronald Klatz were recently involved in that was published in the HSOA Journal Of Alternative, Complementary & Integrative Medicine shows that it is never too late to take steps towards improving both physical and mental health by adopting healthful lifestyle modifications.

Have you ever thought about making a few lifestyle changes but gave up on the idea thinking that it won’t help or it’s too late? But you shouldn’t let such thoughts stop you, according to Argye Hillis, M.D., director of the cerebrovascular division at Johns Hopkins Medicine who says that there is not much difference between an 18-year-old and a 100-year-old brain. Adopting healthful habits can have many rewards such as keeping you healthy and slowing down the aging process on the inside and out. 

A Johns Hopkins-led multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis tracking over 6,000 participants between the ages of 44-84 for over seven years, showed that those making healthful lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, following a Mediterranean-style diet, and getting regular physical exercise decreased their risk of death by 80%. 

A continually growing body of evidence is showing that making healthful lifestyle changes such as the ones mentioned below in this article are fundamentally necessary and viable preventative strategies to improve mental health, physical endurance, vitality, and both health and lifespans. 

Get Up And Be Active More Often

Maintaining a sedentary lifestyle has been shown to be deleterious to our health and well-being, it increases all causes of mortality, and doubles the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and increases the risk of some cancers, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, anxiety, depression, and osteoporosis. On the other hand, being physically active and getting regular exercise has been shown to have a variety of positive effects such as lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, it even lowers the risk of dementia and other cognitive changes as well as some cancers. The potent effects of exercise can lead to compression of morbidity (extended healthspan). In plain terms, this means that you stay healthier for longer in your later years, as compared to a person who has to spend their final years with a lesser quality of life battling various chronic illnesses.  

Make Better Dietary Choices

Anyone who has ever tried to lose a few pounds knows that there are many plans out there that say they can work wonders, but realistically they are ineffective or in the long run unsustainable. Additionally, most of those plans are just about weight for the short term. Improving your diet by adopting one backed by science such as a heart-friendly Mediterranean-style diet can not only help with weight, but it can help your cells function better while also helping you to avoid depression, heart disease, dementia, inflammation, and overall mortality. To help increase your lifespan and healthspan this type of diet is high in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish, and whole grains while being low in meat, sugars, and processed foods. 

Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Quality Sleep

Sleep is arguably the most overlooked factor in health and wellness. Lack of sleep has been shown time and time again to impact a variety of things such as memory, emotions, weight, behavior, and appearance. With age, it can become harder to fall and remain asleep, but sleep still remains important and you still require the same amount of hours. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most sleep issues are a result of underlying medical conditions, medication side effects, snoring, and poor choices. Your primary care provider may be able to help you address these issues, and you may also be able to benefit from better quality sleep by creating a calm space, practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, as well as ensuring that you dedicate enough time to get an adequate amount of sleep. 

Quit Bad Habits Such As Smoking

It is a well-known fact that smoking causes damage to the body that can lead to long-term health problems, including cancer and premature death. Quitting this bad habit has health benefits at any age, regardless of how long or how much you have smoked, according to the CDC. There is a decrease in the risk of having a heart attack in as little as 24 hours after stopping smoking, and longer-term benefits show that quitting the habit decreased middle-aged smokers’ risk of premature death by almost half. Quitting reduces the risk of death and disease from cardiovascular disease, reduces markers of inflammation and hypercoagulability, reduces the risk of some cancers, leads to rapid improvement in HDL-C levels, and after just 24 hours your ability to smell and taste improves as your nerve endings damaged by smoking begin to regrow. 

Exercise Your Brain

The brain loves being challenged and tackling new tasks whether that be taking a new route to work, learning a new language or skill, painting, or doing a crossword puzzle. This is all brain exercise. Keeping your brain active can increase its vitality according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Simply doing things in new ways can help your brain to retain cells and connections, it may even help to produce new cells. Brain health is as important as physical health, and trying new things and challenging your brain helps it to stay healthy. 

You can add mental exercises to your day by reading, trying something new, playing games, starting a new hobby, and trying trivia among other ways. You can even find a variety of mental dexterity exercises to try out. There are also a variety of apps that were designed to help promote brain health, and several of them are free. Maintaining mental fitness is important to both your brain and body health. 

It is worth noting that while the above make a great start, these are not the only healthful lifestyle changes that can afford many benefits, there are others like keeping stress in check, nurturing relationships, and maintaining a positive outlook among others. The bottom line is that by making lifestyle changes you can improve your quality of life, happiness, healthspan, and longevity for the better, and you are worth it. 

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