Get off the couch! Regular exercise not only helps you maintain weight but may help prevent (or reverse) some of the age-related changes to muscles, bones and joints. Research shows that exercise can strengthen bones and slow the rate of bone loss; increase muscle mass and strength, which is important for maintaining your metabolism; and strengthen and maintain joint flexibility. Regular exercise also helps regulate insulin levels, improves cardio fitness, promotes good sleep and is great for the soul.
A well-round exercise program should include a mix of cardio, resistance (weights) and flexibility exercises. However, if you haven’t donned the exercise gear in a while, get the all-clear from your doctor first. You may wish to engage the services of a qualified personal trainer or exercise physiologist to help get you started.
If most of the colour in your food is the artificial kind, then you need to switch up your diet! Health experts recommend we eat a balanced diet, consuming foods from each of the five major food groups each day (i.e. fruits; vegetables and legumes; lean protein, low-fat dairy foods; and cereals and grains).
Eating a wide variety of foods means you are more likely to get all the nutrients you need. Including protein in your diet will help you stay full, while including plenty of plant food (two fruits and five veggies) per day will help guard against cardiovascular disease, some cancers and diabetes. Calcium-rich, low-fat dairy foods are great for bone health, while fish is good for the brain and the heart.
Choosing a variety of foods within each group will also help make your meals interesting, so you don’t get bored with your diet and go looking for ‘treat’ foods.
Are always in the sun
Even if you are not terribly vain about your looks, you must Slip (on a shirt) Slop (on some sunscreen), Slap (on a hat), Seek (some shade) and Slide (on some sunglasses)! Skin cancers make up around 80 per cent of newly diagnosed cancers each year in Australia, with our sunburnt country having some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
Using solariums to get your tan is not a safe option either. Research shows that using solariums before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 per cent. If you want a tan, opt for a spray-on, or bottle variety.
Skin cancer aside, the sun can damage your skin. Skin damage is one of the leading causes of premature ageing of the skin, which usually shows up as wrinkles and tough, dry skin — both of which can make you look older.
If you do spend a lot of time outdoors, use an SPF50+ sunscreen. If you notice any changes in your skin, see your doctor.