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How You Take Care of Your Body Now Affects How Well You Feel and Function In 20 Years
Things to do now to improve your quality of life in the decades to come:
Stay Hydrated—Most tissues in the body are water based and rely on proper hydration to function well. Your muscles, brain, digestive system, etc. need sufficient water to do their jobs properly. There is no set amount of water to drink per day because it will depend on your activities, humidity, and so forth. The best way to know if you are properly hydrated is by checking how light your urine is. It should be a very light yellow. If it looks like apple juice, you are way behind on hydration.
Eat a Balanced Diet—There are many fad diets out there and most of them have short term benefits. Some of them work well, but some of them can actually be unhealthy in the long run. Balancing a diet involves making sure you get calories from protein, fats, and carbohydrates. A good balance is 40% of your calories from protein, 30% from fats, and 30% from carbs. Some people mistakenly cut out fats from their diets, thinking that this will be healthy and help them lose weight. While there are some unhealthy fats that we should avoid, most naturally occurring fats are healthy or even necessary for good health. Olive oil, omega-3 fats, and most animal fats are actually good for the body. Eating fats won’t make you fat—it’s actually sugar (especially fructose) that makes your body produce triglycerides (fat). Avoid simple carbs like sugars, but don’t forget to include complex carbs like legumes, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and fiber.
Avoid Inflammatory Food—Some foods are prone to causing inflammation, while others decrease inflammation. Avoid consuming things like sugar, trans fats, vegetable oils, fried foods, tobacco, alcohol, and any highly processed food.
Strength Training—We tend to lose muscle mass as we age. Muscle burns energy even while we rest, so losing muscle can lead to gaining fat. Strength training will, of course, burn energy and help to keep the unwanted pounds off. Also, the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that helps to build and maintain muscle increases production of testosterone that both men and women need to be healthy.
Exercise Your Brain—Our brains can atrophy like the rest of our bodies. Read good books. Do puzzles. Meditate. Avoiding stress reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol can eat away the part of your brain that is responsible for memory. People with consistently elevated stress levels experience memory loss.
There are many things we can do to ensure that we can do the things we want to do when we are older. At least do the easy things.
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