6 Ways to Future-Proof Your Body
When you’re young, it’s easy to assume you’ll be active and energized forever. In reality, getting older can take a toll on your body and there’s no guarantee you’ll be as agile, fit, or nimble as you are now. However, you can reduce the risk of developing age-related aches and pains by future-proofing your body.
By understanding what causes your body to change as you get older – and knowing what to do about it – you can look forward to remaining fit and healthy. Remember – aging doesn’t start happening once you 40, 50, or 60; it’s happening all the time. The younger you are when you start taking care of yourself, the better shape you’ll be in as you age. With this in mind, take a look at these top tips for future-proofing your body now:
- Strengthen Your Back
Back pain can strike at any age but it’s particularly common in older people. In fact, Health Report Live maintains that 22% of people over the age of 65 experience back pain every day. Back problems can vary from acute injuries, like a slipped disc, to chronic discomfort, so it’s well worth making the effort to reduce the risk of future problems now.
By strengthening the muscles in your back – the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, serratus posterior – and the oblique muscles in your sides, you’ll be better protected against injury. Similarly, developing good posture and avoiding potentially harmful activities – like lifting heavy items in the wrong way – you can minimize the risk of developing back pain later in life.
- Keep Mentally Active
When we think about physical fitness, we typically focus on weight maintenance, muscle building, and cardiovascular health. However, the brain needs to be properly exercised if it’s to remain fully functional. When you’re in school or college, you’re constantly developing new neural pathways as you learn, retain, and remember information.
However, if your job roles in later life don’t require the same level of creativity or concentration, it’s easy for your brain to become less active. If you want to prevent cognitive decline as you age, make the effort to train your brain now. Puzzles, like crosswords, word searches, and Sudoku, are a great way to keep your brain working hard. With video games and apps designed to enhance your brain function, keeping mentally active can be fun, as well as beneficial.
- Learn to Manage Stress
Stress can have a drastic impact on your wellbeing, particularly if it occurs over a long period of time. Chronic stress is associated with various physical ailments, including headaches, fatigue, and muscle pain. In addition to this, being stressed can increase your risk of contracting colds and other infections.
Learning how to limit stress and manage stressful situations can help you to eradicate the symptoms it causes. While some stress is normal in life, finding healthy ways to cope with it will stand you in good stead for the future.
Fortunately, there is a greater awareness of mental health issues in today’s society, which means there are plenty of stress reduction techniques out there. Try yoga, meditation, Pilates, mindfulness, or even a brisk walk if you want to reduce your stress levels and boost your mental wellbeing.
- Eat Right
If you’re still young enough to be able to eat what you like without gaining weight, be aware that it won’t last forever! When you’re young, you tend to use up a fair amount of energy throughout the day, which means you can burn off some extra calories. However, a poor diet could be wreaking havoc on your body, even if you don’t gain extra weight.
Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis are all associated with eating an unhealthy diet. While these can increase your risk of developing other serious conditions, they can be life-threatening in themselves.
Understanding what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet can be the key to optimizing your health. Learning to cook is a great way to spark an interest in nutrition and it will give you the skills you need to be able to whip up delicious, healthy meals on any type of budget.
- Prioritize Dental Care
While baby teeth are only designed to last for a few years, adult teeth should last a lifetime. Without proper dental care, however, you’re likely to need fillings, extractions, crowns, root canals, veneers, implants, and/or dentures as you get older.
Furthermore, poor oral hygiene has been linked to an increased risk of developing other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, and pneumonia, as well as complications during pregnancy and birth.
If you want to keep smiling as you get older, be sure to incorporate a good oral care routine into your day now. Brushing and flossing twice daily, combined with routine visits to your dentist, will help to keep your teeth healthy for longer.
- Be Active
If you don’t have a baseline of activity when you’re young, it will be harder to develop it when you get older. By being active now, you can reduce the risk of age-related health problems, enhance your cardiovascular health, and increase your muscle mass.
While it’s normal for older people to be less active, increasing the amount of exercise you do now will mean that you’re able to continue being active to some degree in the future. If you struggle to walk 1km now, for example, it’s going to be a challenge to make it 0.5km in 20 years’ time. Conversely, if you can hike 10km now, a daily 1km or 2km walk in 20 years is achievable.
Focus on the Future Now
We all know that we should do everything we can to stay healthy, but it can be hard to find the motivation when you feel well and aren’t experiencing any noticeable health problems. However, this doesn’t mean your body isn’t starting to suffer because of your lifestyle. By making minor changes to your daily routine, you can optimize your health, future-proof your body, and enjoy life as you get older.