Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, say goodbye to these 9 habits

There’s a running joke on the internet about millennials looking younger than they are and I look at this commentary and think… “My back pain disagrees with that.”

Kidding aside, there’s a lot of emphasis being given to “looking younger” but how about feeling younger? To stay young at heart despite the hardware falling apart? 

Let’s talk about that today.

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, here are 9 habits you should consider saying goodbye to:

1) Being sedentary

Do you spend hours on hours sitting down? Spend less time on your feet than advised? Do you not get to exercise? 

You’re probably living a sedentary lifestyle. That’s something you need to say goodbye to if you want to keep feeling young. 

HealthPartners define it as, “The exact definition of a sedentary lifestyle is when someone spends six or more hours per day sitting or lying down, and they lack significant physical movement in their daily life.

This may sound familiar – in an office job, for example, many people sit for the entirety of their workday in front of a computer, then unwind in front of the TV or with their phone before they go to sleep. It’s an easy routine to fall into, but not without risks.”

And these risks mostly include health-related ones like diabetes and heart diseases. Fatigue and stress are also up there in that list. 

So how will you feel young if you feel burdened? 

2) Not sleeping enough

“Sleep deficiency can interfere with work, school, driving, and social functioning. You might have trouble learning, focusing, and reacting.

Also, you might find it hard to judge other people’s emotions and reactions. Sleep deficiency also can make you feel frustrated, cranky, or worried in social situations.” – What Are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency? | National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute

If someone can use sleep deprivation as a form of abuse or torture, you know it’s bad. Like, real bad. 

And yet, some of us do it to ourselves! So if you want to keep feeling young as you get older, sleep well and sleep enough. 

On a personal note, as an insomniac, I know how terrible it feels to not have enough sleep. You feel groggy and disoriented, you feel sluggish and sleepy the entire day. It’s a heavy feeling to have. 

Not to mention the health risks involved. Johns Hopkins Medicine says, “Getting a bad night of sleep now and then is annoying, but not a health risk.

However, chronic poor sleep may increase the likelihood of developing dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries and prostate.”

Makes you want to have an earlier bedtime, doesn’t it? 

3) High levels of alcohol drinking

The kind of drinking I’m pertaining to goes beyond social drinking. We’re talking about high levels that go into problematic territory. The debilitating kind. The can’t-function-without-alcohol kind. 

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, drink moderately, if at all. 

From the World Health Organization, “Drinking alcohol is associated with risks of developing noncommunicable diseases such as liver diseases, heart diseases, and different types of cancers, as well as mental health and behavioural conditions such as depression, anxiety and alcohol use disorders.” 

4) Smoking

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, consider not smoking. 

If you’re a smoker, I’m sure you already know the risks involved. If you’re not a smoker, great, don’t start. It’s not worth it. 

Let’s talk about some of the risks involved:

  • Increased risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Increased risk of stroke.
  • Increased risk of lung cancer, but also cancer in other parts of the body.
  • Overall diminished health.
  • Can reduce fertility. 
  • Can affect bone health.

For the full list, check this Tobacco Use facts sheet from the CDC. 

5) Not having a balanced diet

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, you need to have a balanced diet

More protein, more fiber, less sugar, less saturated fats. Get more fruits in your diet, more vegetables!

Lessen your sugar intake wherever you can. Drink more water. 

And yes, I understand that eating healthily can be a strain on the budget when “unhealthy” foods prove to be cheaper, but there are so many resources out there about budget cooking healthy meals.

You don’t have to go too abrupt in implementing all these health foods either, you can start small. 

6) Not handling stress levels

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, you need to manage your stress. 

Mayo Clinic says, “Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Knowing common stress symptoms can help you manage them.

Stress that’s not dealt with can lead to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.”

I think it’s an understatement to say that stress can weigh you down. Your body can feel like it’s constantly in fight-or-flight mode and you’re not going to function at your best.

If left unmanaged, it can even pose health risks. 

7) Not hydrating well

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, you need to drink water regularly. 

There are many benefits to drinking the recommended amount of fluids, one of which is to help maximize physical performance. When you’re dehydrated, you won’t be at your best. 

Now imagine doing that for years and years to come. Imagine the toll it would take on your body.

8) Not going for regular check-ups

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, stay on top of your health game. Don’t go to the hospital only when you’re feeling something or you’re already sick, go for regular check-ups!

And I know this isn’t a completely feasible or affordable option for everyone, but search for options in your area for free clinics or free check-ups if you can. 

9) Not having life outside of work

If you want to keep feeling young as you get older, you need to have a good work-life balance. 

Working hard is great, you have goals to accomplish and things to acquire. You might have corporate ladders to climb or businesses to expand, and hey, that’s great!

However, you need to have a life outside of work. You need to socialize. You need to rest. You need to work and play in equal amounts. 

It can even keep your mind sharp, which is also important in feeling young. 

Summa Health says, “Socializing stimulates brain activity as it constantly engages and exercises the mind, which strengthens neural pathways to fight off cognitive decline. In fact, research shows older adults who regularly socialize have a better working memory, processing speed and verbal fluency.”

Final thoughts

The best time to reverse bad habits was yesterday, the second best time is today. 

Reversing bad habits is no easy feat, but if you wish to keep feeling young as you get older, you need to at least try. 

Life is both short and long and to spend our years not feeling our best doesn’t sound like a good time. Of course, it’s irresponsible to think that this isn’t being idealistic, but what is the alternative? 

Getting old and feeling old? Lose the wonder of our youth? Lose sight of the things that used to bring us joy? See the daily grind as normal?

Perhaps it is idealistic to want to remain young at heart, but it’s something I wish to carry. 

What about you?

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