When it comes to aging well, most of us already know what we need to do: Exercise, eat right, get a good night’s sleep. Don’t smoke or drink heavily.
Just as important, doctors say, don’t wait to start taking care of yourself. The good news is the same regimen that helps your heart also benefits your brain, mood, metabolism, and even skin. Aging gracefully isn’t rocket science. It just requires energy, stamina and motivation.
1. Exercise regularly
A minimum of 45 minutes of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week, will keep your heart young while improving your figure, mood and brainpower.
2. Eat a mostly Mediterranean diet
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Cook with olive oil instead of butter.
3. “Sin” less
Don’t smoke. Limit drinking to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men.
Getting less than 6.5 hours at night puts you at risk for a host of physical and mental problems.
5. Take care of mental health
Middle age is time to get rid of emotional baggage that stresses you out.
6. Control blood pressure
High blood pressure today sets you up for dementia later.
7. Eat your vitamins
The best way to get vitamins and minerals is from a well-balanced diet.
8. Keep friends close
People who maintain broad social networks as they age have higher scores on intelligence tests and lower rates of dementia, studies show.
9. Learn something new every day
The more you challenge your brain, the better it performs, studies suggest. Better to learn varied things, and participate in group activities.