Knowing how to be healthy in midlife and beyond, and taking good care of yourself is so important for quality of life. It can make the difference between enjoying your later years or taking the slippery slope toward premature aging, degenerative disease, and seemingly unavoidable aches and frailty.
Aging is natural, but you can slow its effects. You have some control over whether you age well or not. The earlier you implement healthy self-care habits and keep them up, the greater the benefits.
But for many of us, consistently taking healthy steps is more difficult than it sounds. Our old habits keep us stuck and resistant to change, even when that change can improve our health and extend our lives. This may be especially true in industrial countries where junk food and sedentary lifestyles are common. For example, the Commonwealth Report states that the U.S. spends more per capita on health care than other countries and ranks last for health care performance and healthy living compared to six other industrialized nations.
Our healthcare system may be partly to blame, but the modern lifestyle is the undeniable main cause. Of course, some of the perils of modern life are beyond our direct control. The good news is that there is much you can personally do to increase your odds of enjoying vitality and good health at any age.
The following 11+ ways to stay healthy will help you do that.
Wellness habits of mind and body are key for how to be healthy in midlife and beyond. Experiment and choose self-care tips from these pages for mind body spirit health that you can implement easily. Make it fun, an adventure. Don't underestimate the importance of any of them.
Your beliefs about health play a big part in how you take care of yourself. Just as you are what you eat, you are what you think.
One important belief to hold dear is that your health is primarily your responsibility. Your health is in your hands.
Remind yourself that it is easier to stay healthy than to try to turn around a health condition. Treasure and nurture your good health. That starts in your mind with the decisions you make.
Unfortunately, people do not usually pay much mind to their health until their health is at risk. They settle for feeling tired, sick, unhappy and achy.
Imagine how good your quality of life could be now and in the future if your physical and emotional well-being was top priority. It is possible to feel better and stay healthy for the long run.
Cultivate a wellness mindset and incorporating the following tips for how to be healthy will be much easier. Assume responsibility for your health and your life. You are in charge.
Human nature tends to discount small steps and think we have to make big changes and take radical actions to improve our health. Unfortunately, that mindset often leads to no change at all. Unless you are very ill and have to do a major health overhaul to save your life, taking small consistent steps will probably work best in the long run.
The Japanese word "kaizen", means the practice of continuous improvement. People in general are uncomfortable with change and resist it over time. The idea behind kaizen is to continuously implement small, almost unnoticeable positive changes that don't force you to rely on massive amounts of will power or disciple. Over time, these small upgrades add up to real change and improvements in your habits and lifestyle.
Mental and emotional well-being is just as important as physical health. Many experts believe that wellness of spirit is a big part of holistic health and healing if for no other reason than being a great stress reliever. To be healthy in mind and spirit, put these self-care tips into practice every day.
One of the most important ways to stay healthy in mind and body is to keep dis-stress to a minimum.
Many of us live in such a continuous state of mental and emotional stress, that we don't even realize how stressed we are. Chronic distress is hard on our body systems and limits nutrients and hormones needed for repair and regeneration. Eventually it catches up with us as premature aging and illness, not to mention depression, lack of focus, and feeling anxious and unhappy.
A calm, peaceful mind is a happy mind.
The popular quote, "Live, Love, Laugh", contains great wisdom for nurturing your soul and spirit.
Practice some aspects of spiritual wellness often. Let your inner child come out and play from time to time. Do something you love and to be with people and pets you love every day. Listen to your spirit and what it needs. Forgive quickly. Let go of emotions and feelings that hold you back, stress you out, and hinder the flow of contentment and joy in your life. Love and accept yourself. Live your purpose. Commune with nature and the divine. Practice being present in the now.
Physical health can be compromised or improved in a variety of ways. One habit of healthy living that often gets overlooked is being mindful of the stress we put on our bodies in less obvious ways. This distress includes toxic exposure, too much mental distress, being sedentary, too much unhealthy eating, and too little sleep and exercise. Minding your mental stress levels is important, but so is minding the many ways your body has to deal with stress on a regular basis.
Your body take in hundreds of toxins through air, food, and water. It also creates toxins through natural metabolic processes and when you stress yourself with negativity and worry. Your body is designed to handle some toxins, but not the excessive amounts common in modern living.
You can greatly help your body by supporting natural detoxification processes, avoiding chemicals and EMF waves, and reducing stress. A very easy starting step is to replace your chemical household and personal products with green products that are safe for you, your family, and the environment.
It is not possible to completely eliminate toxins in your life, but it is easy to reduce your exposure. Detoxing your mind, body and home is an ongoing healthy habit that is important to all aspects of wellness.
One of the easy ways to stay healthy is to practice proper breathing. Cultivate the healthy habit of taking deep breath breaks throughout the day to relieve stress and oxygenate your blood.
Take a slow, deep, gentle breath into your abdomen through your nose and release it through your nose or mouth. If you feel stressed, let it out with a whoosh or ahh and drop your shoulders. Breathe like a sleeping baby does.
You may have to practice laying down if you need to with hands on your abdomen. No shoulder lifting! Bring in fresh oxygen through your nose and release stale toxic air on the exhale.
A nemesis of how to be healthy is too much sitting. Being sedentary can actually shorten your life. Make a point of getting up for a few minutes at least every hour. Set an alarm if you need to. Stand up, take a walk, shake it out, dance to a three-minute song. Exercise. Just do something other than sit or lounge.
Healthy habits are the cornerstone for how to be healthy at any age.
Pro-health choices greatly reduce your risks of premature aging and degenerative lifestyle diseases like arthritis, heart, disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Top healthy habits to enjoy:
Obesity, and its accompanying hormone imbalances and insulin resistance, are underlying causes of many serious diseases and shorter life spans. For example, as obesity rates rise, so does the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.
The waning hormones and slower metabolism of midlife and beyond make keeping off excess pounds more challenging.
Perseverance and well researched tactics can help you release excess weight and keep it off.
An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure when it comes to good health at any age. Poor lifestyle choices may be the easiest, most enjoyable road in the short run, but eventually those choices catch up with you.
It is easier to avoid damage than to fix it, to stay well than to reverse disease. Prevention also minimizes your risk for injury and early death.
Top risky behaviors to avoid include:
It is not easy to break unhealthy, risky habits, but it is worth it. Seek professional help if you need it.
Learning how to be healthy and making a commitment to stay well is a mindset and a process.
An easy way to start building the basics of how to be healthy into your life is to use the kaizen approach. Over time, you incorporate more healthy habits into your lifestyle. You will feel good knowing you are doing all you can to insure a healthy, happy future.
Not sure where to start? Take this quick wellness assessment to find out. Free with your newsletter subscription.
How to Be Healthy page updated 09/2021