Ways to Extend Your Healthy Years, Not Just Your Life

Living a long life is fantastic, but what if you rethink that goal? Rather than merely counting candles on a cake, you could focus on ensuring those years are in good health. These years make up the concept of an individual’s ‘healthspan’, which explains the number of years spent in good health and vitality. The healthspan of a person is just as important as their lifespan.

People have always been obsessed with staying young and healthy. They pursue this need in a variety of ways. From the billion-dollar cosmetic industry to the NMN supplement UK market, they all serve as a testament to the desire for health and vitality, even in old age. 

Fortunately, research has evidence that supports the implementation of a few actionable steps in extending your healthy years and enjoying a higher quality of life well into your golden years. Here are some proven ways to live not just younger but better:

  1. Move It or Lose It

Regular exercise isn’t just for a model-like summer body. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week can significantly reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

Also, bone and muscle strength decline with age. The impact is a reduced capacity to perform physical functions like sitting and standing without great difficulty. But regular exercise, especially strength training, can make a big difference in building muscle strength. 

Engaging in activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or jogging can help keep your heart healthy and also strengthen your muscles. This improves flexibility and enhances mood. Prioritize balance exercises in your older age. 

  1. Fuel Your Body Right

Consider your body a high-performance machine. You wouldn’t put bad gas in a Ferrari, so you shouldn’t do it to yourself. Your diet plays an important role in determining your health. 

Studies have consistently shown that adopting a plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains not only supplies your daily requirement of nutrients but also lowers your risk of cognitive decline. They are also the major meal components of people living in the blue zones of the world. 

  1. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is often underrated when it comes to its impact on health. Yet, a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, have been associated with inadequate sleep. 

Most of the body’s recovery and skin regeneration processes occur during sleep. Sleeping is a necessary nocturnal activity that recharges your body. You should aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to allow your body and mind to rest, repair, and rejuvenate. 

To promote better sleep hygiene:

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine 
  • Optimize your sleep environment
  • Limit screen time before bed.

  1. Cultivate Social Connections

Maintaining strong social connections is important for both mental and physical health as you age. Studies among individuals with functional and active social support networks show they tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who are socially isolated. 

So, you should make an effort to nurture relationships with friends, family, and community members. You feel more connected with your environment and neighbors and promote healthy living.

  1. Immerse Yourself in Nature

Spending time in nature can help you relax and reduce stress. Being in natural environments, such as parks or gardens, can lower cortisol levels. Such a leisurely pastime in nature can also lead to a decrease in blood pressure and cause a feeling of calmness. This invariably reduces the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. 

If you can set aside enough time for a short walk in nature, you will get an immediate stress-relieving effect. Being in nature is an affordable and effective way to unwind after a long day.

  1. Don’t Forget the Mind  

Staying mentally alert is instrumental in living a healthy and fulfilling life. Challenge your brain with puzzles, learn a new language, or simply engage in stimulating conversations. These activities generally create a sense of purpose in older people while keeping them mentally fit.

Bottom Line

There are many ways to promote a longer health span, from nourishing your body with nutritious foods to staying physically active. Also, getting enough quality sleep and forming new or strengthening old social connections can help you manage stress effectively. When you incorporate these strategies into your lifestyle, you will be well on the path to extending not only your lifespan but also your healthy years.