As The Portland Clinic celebrates its 100th anniversary, our experts share advice to help you shoot for your own someday.
PHYSICAL HEALTH: BUILDING YOUR BODY’S RETIREMENT ACCOUNT
You only get one body in this lifetime, so it makes good sense to invest in its future. Maintaining a healthy, well-cared-for body by staying active, eating right, getting enough sleep and keeping stress under control are like money in the bank. The benefits to your older self — better energy, stamina, mobility, stability, function, disease resistance, resilience and longevity, not to mention simply feeling better — will accrue like a retirement account for your body’s future.
The earlier you start, the more benefits you’ll enjoy for all of your future years. But it’s never too late to start — I regularly see people turn their health around by taking action, and they’re so thankful that they did.
Here are six of the best-known ways to invest in your body’s future:
1. Move it
Call it exercise, recreation or play time — just move. Activity doesn’t have to be tedious — choose whatever you enjoy, as long as it gets your heart pumping and your lungs working a little harder. Shoot for 30 minutes daily.
2. Fuel it
Maintain a healthy relationship with the food that fuels your body. That means eating real food that builds health and boosts energy: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Limit refined sugar.
3. Cool it
Stress can break down the immune system and cause premature aging. Take up yoga, journaling, meditation, gardening or another relaxation practice now, and you’ll build a tool kit to help you stay cool when life heats up.
4. Rest it
Sleeplessness, like stress, weakens the immune system and leads to health problems. Set yourself up for good sleep: limit caffeine after noon, exercise early in the day, turn off your phone and meditate before bed.
5. Respect it
Avoid smoking, using harmful drugs, and binge eating and drinking — these behaviors abuse your body and age it faster. To help your body carry you through your years, treat it with the love and respect it deserves.
6. Keep an eye on it
Get timely checkups and age-specific screenings, and check out concerns right away for your best shot at heading off problems early.
The people I’ve known who’ve lived to be 100-plus have one other thing in common: they all tap into joy. That doesn’t mean they’ve lived easy lives. But they embrace playfulness. They are the first ones on the dance floor, and the ones who laugh the loudest. Whether that motivates their healthy habits or it results from them, it’s working.