If You Want to Stay Feeling Young as You Age, Say Goodbye to These 9 Habits

There’s a joke going around on the internet about millennials looking younger than they are. When I look at this comment I think, “My back pain disagrees.”

Jokes aside, there is a lot of emphasis on “looking younger,” but what about feeling younger? Staying young at heart despite the hardware falling apart?

Let’s talk about that today.

If you want to keep feeling young as you age, here are 9 habits you need to ditch:

1) Being sedentary

Do you sit for hours? Do you stand on your feet less often than advised? Do you not get around to exercising?

You probably live a sedentary lifestyle. That is something you need to say goodbye to if you want to stay young.

HealthPartners defines it as follows: ‘The exact definition of a sedentary lifestyle is when someone spends six or more hours a day sitting or lying down and does not get enough physical activity in daily life.

This may sound familiar – in an office job, for example, many people spend the entire workday sitting in front of a computer, then unwinding in front of the TV or on their phone before going to sleep. It’s an easy routine to fall into, but it’s not without its risks.”

And these risks include mostly health-related risks like diabetes and heart disease. Fatigue and stress also top that list.

How can you feel young when you feel burdened?

2) Not getting enough sleep

“Sleep deprivation can interfere with work, school, driving, and social functioning. You may have trouble learning, focusing, and responding.

You may also have a hard time judging the emotions and reactions of others. Sleep deprivation can also make you feel frustrated, grumpy, or anxious in social situations.” – What Are Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Deprivation? | National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute

When someone can use sleep deprivation as a form of abuse or torture, you know it’s bad. Really 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 get enough sleep.

Personally, as an insomniac, I know how awful it feels to not get enough sleep. You feel groggy and disoriented, you feel lethargic and sleepy all day long. It’s a hard feeling to have.

Not to mention the health risks that come with it. Johns Hopkins Medicine says, “Occasionally bad sleep is annoying, but not a health risk.

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

Makes you want to go to bed earlier, doesn’t it?

3) High levels of alcohol consumption

The kind of drinking I’m talking about goes beyond social drinking. We’re talking about high levels that become problematic. The debilitating kind. The kind that can’t live without alcohol.

If you want to stay feeling young as you age, drink in moderation, or not at all.

According to the World Health Organization, “drinking alcohol is associated with the risk of developing noncommunicable diseases such as liver disease, heart disease and several cancers, as well as with mental health and behavioural problems such as depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse.”

4) Smoking

If you want to continue feeling young as you age, you may want to consider quitting smoking.

If you’re a smoker, you probably already know the risks involved. If you’re not a smoker, fine, 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 of cancer elsewhere in the body.
  • General deterioration in health.
  • May reduce fertility.
  • May affect bone health.

For the full list, see this CDC tobacco use fact sheet.

5) Not having a balanced diet

If you want to stay feeling young as you age, a balanced diet is important.

More protein, more fiber, less sugar, less saturated fat. Get more fruit in your diet, more vegetables!

Reduce your sugar intake where you can. Drink more water.

And yes, I understand that eating healthy can be a strain on the budget when “unhealthy” food turns out to be cheaper, but there are so many resources available on how to cook healthy meals on a budget.

You don’t have to rush into introducing all these healthy foods. You can start small.

6) Not handling stress levels

If you want to stay feeling young as you age, you need to manage your stress.

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

Stress left unaddressed can lead to many health problems, including 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 won’t function at your best.

If left untreated, it can even pose health risks.

7) Not hydrating properly

If you want to stay feeling young as you age, you should drink water regularly.

There are many benefits to drinking the recommended amount of fluids, one of which is to maximize physical performance. When you are dehydrated, you will not be at your best.

Now imagine doing that for years. 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. Don’t just go to the hospital when you feel bad or are already sick, but go for regular check-ups!

I know this isn’t a viable or affordable option for everyone, but look for options in your area for free clinics or free checkups if possible.

9) Not having a life outside of work

If you want to stay feeling young as you age, a good work-life balance is important.

Hard work is great, you have goals to achieve and things to acquire, you may have corporate ladders to climb or businesses to expand, and hey, that’s great!

But you also have to have a life outside of work. You have to socialize. You have to rest. You have to work as much as you play.

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

Summa Health says, “Socializing boosts brain activity because it constantly engages and exercises the mind, strengthening neural pathways to combat cognitive decline. In fact, research shows that older adults who socialize regularly have better working memory, processing speed, and verbal fluency.”

Final thoughts

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

Breaking bad habits isn’t easy, but if you want to stay young as you age, you have 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 idealistic, but what’s the alternative?

Are we growing old and feeling old? Are we losing the wonder of our youth? Are we losing sight of the things that used to bring us joy? Are we taking the daily grind for granted?

Maybe it’s idealistic to want to stay young at heart, but it’s something I want to convey.

And you?

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