16 Proven Ways to Future Proof Your Body for Optimal Longevity

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:13
Make the right choices today so you'll enjoy a long, peaceful, and active life Want to look and feel great for years to come? Well, by future proofing your body, you can do just that. Essentially, "future proofing" is investing in your...
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Want to look and feel great for years to come? Well, by future proofing your body, you can do just that. Essentially, "future proofing" is investing in your health now so that it's in tip-top shape even when you get older. Doctors and scientists have done a lot of research to crack the code for longevity, and we're here to share their findings with you. Follow all the steps in this expert-backed list to protect your physical, mental, and emotional health so you'll be the best version of yourself no matter what your age is.

Things You Should Know

  • Eat a balanced diet to manage your weight, stabilize your blood pressure, keep your blood sugar down, and support your digestive health.
  • Exercise regularly and take "movement breaks" at work to avoid high blood pressure, sore joints, stiff muscles, anxiety, and depression.
  • Practice stress reduction by practicing mindfulness, going out in nature, trying out yoga, and investing in your relationships.
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor in order to catch health issues early and treat them right away, which will improve your quality of life.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

  1. Enjoy meals full of grains, fruits, and veggies to ward off diseases.
    Plus, you’ll get plenty of nutrients, too. To maintain a balanced diet, eat minimally processed foods—in other words, ones that are as close to their natural state as possible (like a raw apple instead of sugary juice). When you consume mainly whole foods, you’ll manage your weight, stabilize your blood pressure, and keep your blood sugar down.[1]
    • Fruits and veggies contain fiber and essential nutrients, which reduce the risk of heart disease.
    • The omega-3s in fish, nuts, and certain plants (like linseed, chia, and avocados), provide healthy fats that lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel function, and ease inflammation.[2]
    • Whole grains (like oatmeal and brown rice) lower the chance of heart disease, support healthy digestion, help with weight management, and provide essential nutrients like complex carbs, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and important minerals (like iron, magnesium, and selenium).[3]
    • Instead of taking vitamins in pill form, researchers recommend eating a varied diet with whole foods, which will provide all the vitamins, minerals, and trace elements your body needs for optimal health.[4]
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Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

  1. Stay well hydrated so your body can perform all its essential functions.
    Water is a must for the human body—it carries oxygen and nutrients to all your cells, converts food to energy, lubricates your joints, protects your organs, and helps you get rid of waste. To stay hydrated, drink at least eight 8 fluid ounces (240 mL) cups of water a day. Drink before you feel thirsty to avoid dehydration. When you focus on your fluid intake, your body will operate at its best, your mood will improve, and your productivity levels will go up.[5]
    • After every workout, have an extra couple 8 fluid ounces (240 mL) cups of water.
    • If you want to supplement your water intake, try coconut water, herbal teas, lemon water, and vegetable broth.
    • Foods with high water content, like fruits and vegetables (especially greens) also contribute to your fluid intake.
    • While caffeinated drinks (like coffee and soda) won’t dehydrate you, they increase your need to urinate, so they’re not optimal sources for upping your fluid intake.
    • Opt for fruit-infused water rather than sugary drinks when you're feeling thirsty. Your skin will thank you!

Get plenty of rest.

  1. Sleep enough so your brain can repair and improve itself overnight.
    Your brain actually has a drainage system that removes toxins (like proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease) while you sleep. To get quality sleep, get 7 or more hours of sleep every night. This simple habit will help your brain make new connections, recall information, and come up with new ideas.[6]
    • Your entire body benefits from rest, too. When you sleep, repair processes for everything from your blood vessels to your immune system happen.
    • Sleep also controls your blood sugar levels, which helps you manage your weight.
    • Young adults and older adults need the same amount of sleep. As you age, you don’t require less sleep and actually need to maintain your sleep hygiene.
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Exercise every day.

  1. Regular physical activity helps combat all kinds of health conditions.
    Exercise is so good for you that it can improve every area of your life, from your mood to your physical intimacy (thanks to the added energy levels and confidence). To get fit, do aerobics at a moderate level for 150 minutes a week and try strength training exercises twice a week. Once you get started, you'll prevent future issues, like high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, anxiety, depression, arthritis, and cancer.[7]
    • Exercise also boosts “good cholesterol” (HDL) that keeps your blood running smoothly and lowers your risk of heart disease.
    • If you prefer vigorous aerobic activity, you only need 75 minutes of it a week.
    • Remember, consistency is key. To make your exercise routine sustainable, try out activities you love. For example, maybe you’re a fan of tennis, swimming, or hip-hop dance.

Watch your weight.

  1. Keep your weight in a normal range to avoid a series of health problems.
    While it helps to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index), consult your doctor, too. Ask your physician if your percentage of muscle and fat is healthy for your height and age. To maintain a healthy weight, stay active and eat a balanced diet. When you’re at an ideal weight, you’ll reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.[8]
    • Watch out for sudden and unintentional weight loss, too—this can be a sign of certain medical issues, like gastrointestinal disorders. Talk to your doctor to see if there’s a medical cause behind this.
    • If you’re underweight, you can also develop health problems, like osteoporosis (weak bones) and anemia, which makes it harder to recover from illnesses or infections.
    • If you need to lose weight, limit your portion sizes, swap processed meals for whole foods, and be as active as possible.
    • If you want to gain weight, eat more foods with healthy fats (like eggs and peanut butter), eat more nutritious snacks throughout the day (like cheese and dried fruit), and work out to boost your appetite.
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Take hourly “movement breaks” at work.

  1. Create short “activity breaks” to avoid risks from a sedentary lifestyle.
    [9] If you spend hours at a desk job, make sure you’re not sitting all day! Stand up about every 30 minutes to prevent chronic back pain and take a short walk every hour to cut back on fatigue.[10] If you stretch and move around a little, you’ll not only reduce the strain on your body, but you’ll also boost your motivation and productivity.[11]
    • 5-10 minutes of light activity at work can make a dramatic difference. When you’re at your desk, you can relieve tension and stabilize your muscles by:
      • Stretching your neck (i.e., head circles and chin tucks)
      • Stretching your back (i.e., spinal twists and forearm shoulder stretches)
      • Stretching your hips (i.e., lunges and scissor hamstring stretches)
      • Doing bodyweight exercises (i.e., deadlifts and glute bridges)

Go outside.

  1. Walk around and admire nature to increase your life expectancy.
    Science confirms it—the beautiful and great outdoors offer psychological and physical health benefits. “Green spaces,” or areas with lots of trees, grass, shrubs, or flowers, motivate you to move, relax you, and reduce stress. So, make time for strolls or hikes and take in some gorgeous scenery. This simple activity can protect your heart health and support your mind.[12]
    • When you’re around nature, cortisol (stress hormones), heart rates, and muscle tension go down, which lowers your risk of heart disease.
    • Green spaces can also improve your sleep and reduce your likelihood of getting cancer.
    • When you take a break at a park or any other green space, you’ll boost your levels of focus and concentration.
    • Attractive green spaces also promote community wellness and reduce environmental stress.
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Try out yoga.

  1. Practice yoga to improve both your physical and mental wellness.
    Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that enhances your strength, balance, and flexibility. Not only that—yoga can relieve chronic back pain as well as sore joints. It’ll also reduce stress levels and inflammation. To do yoga, set aside time to work on your poses at home or at a studio. When you commit to yoga, you’ll find a relaxing way to promote long-term holistic wellness.[13]
    • Consistent bedtime yoga can help you unwind and sleep better.
    • You may also experience a boost in alertness and positive emotions when you practice yoga regularly.
    • Going through yoga routines with others can build community, which can help ease loneliness and promote psychological wellness.
    • Overall, yoga helps you manage stress and reminds you to prioritize self-care.

Practice mindfulness.

  1. Use mindfulness to improve brain function and enhance mental health.
    Mindfulness is the art of slowing down and calming yourself to cut back on stress; it offers many benefits, including self-control, agreeability, enhanced mental clarity, and emotional intelligence. To be mindful, pay attention to how you behave, from the way you breathe to how you talk to others. When you cultivate this skill, you’ll decrease your anxiety and up your working memory.[14]
    • When you slow down and reflect on your emotions, you’ll avoid reactivity, so you’re less likely to get upset over small issues.
    • With mindfulness, you'll probably experience more relationship satisfaction since you'll focus more on your dynamics with others.
    • When you’re mindful, you’ll have more “cognitive flexibility,” so you’ll think about situations in new and creative ways.
    • Overall, mindfulness supports holistic health since it reduces psychological distress, improves wellbeing, and increases immune functioning.
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Maintain your social life.

  1. Build relationships to strengthen your self-esteem and immune system.
    Avoid loneliness and you’ll also prevent poor sleep, high blood pressure, stress hormones, and your ability to fight off infection. To have an active social life, invest time in your friends, family, and colleagues. Connect with others over common interests and shared beliefs. These meaningful bonds will improve your quality of life and decrease your chances of developing heart disease, strokes, or cancer.[15]
    • Quality social connections are linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety as well as higher levels of empathy and trust.
    • Remember, even if you feel a little isolated, there's always time to make new friends.
    • Also keep in mind that you might have different social needs. If you enjoy solitude, that's completely fine. Just make sure to carve out time for connection so you don't feel lonely.

Go on digital detoxes.

  1. Unplug from social media to reduce stress and improve self-image.
    If you get the creeping sense that you’re not “good enough” or you feel like you never see your friends, limit time on your devices and reconnect with others in person. A “digital detox” (time away from social media) can lower your anxiety, improve your sleep, enhance your confidence, and strengthen your relationships.[16]
    • Reduce screen time in the evening since the blue light from screens can make it difficult for your body to produce melatonin, which you need to sleep.
    • List which platforms or sites cause you the most stress of anxiety. You may wish to avoid these altogether.
    • Set a time limit for yourself, like viewing social media for 20 minutes at a time or 30 minutes for the entire day.
    • Consider practicing “digital abstinence” by setting aside one day out of the week that’s completely screen-free.
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Break any bad habits.

  1. Give up vices like smoking so your routines don’t damage your health.
    Harmful habits like overeating, smoking, using drugs, or abusing alcohol all put a strain on your body. Even gambling or a dependence on video games or social media can impact your mental health. To resist temptation and retrain your brain, swap your lifestyle choices for new, healthier ones. Eventually, you’ll hardwire your mind with new habits and begin to heal yourself.[17]
    • For example, if you take a smoke break to calm down and destress, listen to some calming music and practice deep breathing instead.
    • Avoid triggering situations. If you want to stop binge drinking, for instance, skip parties with people who engage in risky behavior.
    • If you are very prone to addictions, trade one very ritualistic behavior for another one. For example, train for marathons instead of gambling compulsively.
    • Remember—your body is very resilient and can bounce back. Even if you’ve smoked your whole life, for example, your heart rate will return to normal 20-60 minutes after your last cigarette.[18]

Look after your skin.

  1. Create a skin care routine to combat wrinkles and skin cancer.
    To encourage “skin resiliency” and take care of your skin, dermatologists recommend that you stock your cabinet with these essentials—a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sunscreen, exfoliator, and serum. You’ll keep your skin tone consistent and have great looking skin year round. Since your skin is your largest organ, it pays off to invest in it.[19]
    • Toner restores nutrients in your skin and diminishes both dryness and red patches.
    • Moisturizer hydrates your skin and seals in moisture.
    • Sunscreen protects you against skin cancer and sun damage as well as UVA and UVB rays. UV rays are the leading cause of signs of aging, like wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and a loss of firmness of your skin.
    • Exfoliants improve skin cell turnover by removing dead skin and buildup. These products will also smooth your skin and clear your pores.
    • Serums calm redness and improve skin texture. Since serums also contain retinol and antioxidants, they stimulate collagen, which enhances the firmness of your skin.
    • Never pick at any blemishes on your skin—this will only help the blemishes spread (and a skin infection can be worse than the blemish itself).
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Take care of your teeth.

  1. Keep your teeth and gums strong to prevent various oral diseases.
    To have great oral hygiene, brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly. Eat a balanced diet, quit smoking, and visit your dentist routinely for check-ups and cleanings. These simple routines will keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay, so you’ll have a stellar smile for years to come.[20]
    • Use a fluoride toothpaste since it’s very effective in preventing tooth decay.[21]
    • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
    • Consider investing in an electric toothbrush—an 11-year study found that those who used electric toothbrushes had healthier gums and teeth than those who used manual toothbrushes.[22]
    • If you have trouble getting hard to reach areas when you floss your teeth, swap wax floss for a water flosser.
    • Try a therapeutic mouthwash to fight gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth decay.[23]

Boost your digestive health.

  1. Look after your gut to improve your immune system.
    A digestive tract (or “gut”) with the right balance of good bacteria and microbes supports your heart and brain health. To improve your digestive wellness, eat for gut health by adding fiber-rich and probiotic-packed foods to your diet. Also remember to exercise regularly since movement boosts healthy bacteria in your gut. When you care for your gut, you’ll enjoy a stronger immune system, more energy, and an improved mood.[24]
    • A well functioning digestive tract reduces your chances of developing diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    • With a healthy gut, you’ll also avoid inconveniences like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, acid reflux, and heartburn.
    • Add probiotic and prebiotic supplements to your routine to support your gut health.
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Have regular health check-ups.

  1. Consult your doctor often to detect conditions in their earliest stages.
    Visit your doctor at least yearly for an annual check-up. However, if you experience any unusual symptoms, like fatigue or migraines, schedule an appointment right away. Your physician can confirm that everything’s just fine or catch a health issue and treat it before it becomes more advanced. Either way, you’ll improve your quality of life and overall wellness.[25]
    • A 2021 study found that regular check-ups help you catch signs of chronic disease early and help you reduce risk factors that contribute to them. For example, if you have high cholesterol levels, you can immediately work on changing your diet.
    • Once you follow your doctor's recommendations, you can immediately manage a health condition and possibly treat it.
    • Researchers also found that simply speaking to a doctor improves peace of mind and feeling of wellness, whether or not you have any health conditions.

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