Make These 9 Health Moves Now or You'll Regret It in 20 Years

You've heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere is it more true than with your health. The health habits you form now will be the foundation of your well-being for the next 20 years. If you start being proactive now, you have much better chances of being healthy as you age. The following nine health moves are things that you can easily do now, for years of benefit later.

1. Stay on Top of Your Dental Health

You only have one set of adult teeth, so take care of them. That means flossing, brushing, and making regular visits to your dentist for exams, cleanings, and repairs. Getting sealants on your teeth can also help prevent future decay. In addition, cut out the soft drinks, which can eat away at your enamel.

2. Live an Active Lifestyle

The longer you wait, the harder it'll be to start, so make a habit of exercising now while you're still in relatively good shape. Regular exercise will help you maintain your flexibility and your weight, reducing the wear and tear on your body and keeping your blood sugar down. Even if you're not an athletic person, a brisk, 30-minute daily walk will do wonders for your energy levels and long-term health.

Exercise doesn't have to mean going to the gym, either. Just getting up off your couch, cleaning the house, and taking your kids (or friends' kids) to the park gets you up and moving, so make an active lifestyle the norm, rather than the exception.

To illustrate my point: My husband's 92-year old grandmother walks two miles every morning with her walking buddies. She has done this since her forties, and credits it for being one of the reasons she is still in good health at her age.

3. Take Care of Your Joints

Take care of your knees and other joints now, while you still have the possibility of preventing or reversing damage. Knee and joint problems will make you more sedentary as you age, with all of the accompanying negatives.

Get orthotics if you have flat feet or misalignments — your feet are the foundation of your body and can cause more problems than you think. Consult a chiropractor or physiotherapist to fix chronic posture problems that can result in fused vertebrae and other injuries as you age. Do some gentle yoga or pilates (with proper instruction) to strengthen your core, increase flexibility, and prevent putting undue stress on your spine and joints. And make sure you're working in an ergonomic environment to prevent repetitive injuries.

4. Learn to Cook

It goes without saying that cleaning up your diet will have positive repercussions in the long run, but one of the best things you can do for your diet is to learn to cook. Learn to make delicious meals from scratch and you'll be able to avoid the worst of the processed foods. Perhaps you'll also discover a fun hobby that will give you hours of therapeutic enjoyment.

5. Go to Therapy

It can be hard, but if you feel down, anxious, apathetic, or stressed a lot, try to drag yourself to see a therapist. Learning to cope with life's stressors now will serve you well in the long run, and enable you to enjoy the next 20 years. Don't put it off if you can feel better now.

In addition, therapy can aid with your relationship and communication skills, helping you to make the most of your relationships now and in the future. Don't neglect your mental and emotional health — they can have a huge impact on your quality of life and your physical health as well.

6. Get in Control of Your Metabolism

Within the next 20 years, your body's metabolism will likely change drastically. You may even be seeing changes now. Stay ahead of any potential problems by getting your thyroid and blood sugar tested and monitored if there are any small problems that might potentially escalate into large ones several years down the road.

Get your exercise and diet on the right track to maintain a healthy weight. Being obese puts you at risk for a plethora of health problems as you age, including diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, and more.

7. Wear Sunscreen

Prevent skin cancer from rearing its ugly head by wearing sunscreen consistently. Also, I feel like a broken record because I say this so much, but the sun accounts for 80% of visible skin aging, so the best anti-aging treatment you can do is to prevent sun damage.

8. Quit Smoking

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health; and the sooner you do it, the better. Smokers have over triple the risk of dying early compared to non-smokers. So quit smoking. You'll be healthier and so will all the other people who live with you.

9. Make Lifelong Learning a Priority

You don't have to become worse at learning as you get older — it's really a matter of whether you're willing to put in the effort to learn something new. Make learning a habit to keep your brain in shape as you age — learn a new language, take up a new hobby, or take some professional development courses. Remember, use it or lose it!

What are you doing to improve your health 20 years from now?

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Make These 9 Health Moves Now or You'll Regret It in 20 Years

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