As we age, we tend to be increasingly concerned about our health. It’s a different story than when we were young and rebellious teenagers, sniffing at the patronizing advice from our elders, and basking in the confused belief that we’re going to live for ever. Someone has yet to prove that this is possible, and all we can do in the meantime is to try to take care of the vessels we have been given.
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Coming to terms with one’s mortality is one thing – but realizing that we can actually do something to prolong our lives is an entirely different, and altogether positive feeling. So, here it is; the top things you can do for your health today, to enjoy the sensation of an active body and a sharp mind for as long as possible.
Keep your friends close
An amusing and eye-opening article in Boston Globe tells the story of a middle-aged reporter who was assigned a task because he was ‘perfect for the story.’ It was supposed to cover the topic on how the lack of a stable and rewarding friendship has become one of the biggest health concerns for men. Needless to say, the reporter tried in vain to convince himself that he was indeed not the perfect candidate for the story.
As we grow up, establish a family and suddenly feel the time-crunch closing in, we tend to spend less time with our friends rather than decreasing the time we devote to our children – which makes sense. The only danger is that when you get older, and the kids leave the nest, many middle-aged men find themselves quite alone.
One study even found that the long-term risks of being lonely can be as severe as those of smoking cigarettes.
Even though we can try to fool ourselves all we want, the verdict is clear. Loneliness is seriously dangerous to your health and can increase the risk of strokes, cardiovascular diseases, as well as Alzheimer’s – which could all have been prevented if we just put aside a bit of time for our friends.
Leave your bad habits behind
Now that we’ve covered the effects your mental well-being can have on your physical health, it’s time to get down to business. Smoking and obesity are, of course, the biggest health concerns for us in old age – right next to loneliness. It’s not enough to continue to make the same new year’s resolutions, trying to quit smoking, or befriend your scale – you need to dig deeper than this to beat the bad habits.
It’s difficult to cover everything you can do to change your brain patterns and form healthy habits, so let’s keep it simple; to change your ways, start by visualizing the benefits you’ll enjoy by cutting down on smoking, for example. Write it down, memorize it, and try to compensate by moving over to e-cigarettes instead – especially if you’ve been smoking for a long time.
Have a look at this article for an in-depth read on changing your habits and remember that to succeed, you need to make a conscious choice every day to change the patterns in your brain.
Why not team up with some of your friends and embark on a new and rewarding lifestyle together? It will be good for all of you, that’s for sure.