From Suzanne Bowerman’s Guide to Aging Beautifully and Healthy
When a person is young, the thought of aging does not even cross their mind.
As we age, however, many of us look back and think, “I wish I had taken better care of myself.” It’s really important to pay attention to your diet and exercise while you’re still young.
Eating is one of the few actions that we do several times a day. This means that every meal or snack can provide us with an opportunity to reinforce healthy eating habits.
For example, controlling your portion size. Or choosing foods with high nutritional value. Or eat more calcium-rich foods. Use sunscreen regularly. To move more. Get enough protein. To take care of your skin.
It’s never too late to start taking better care of your health and appearance. The habits you establish now will have an increasing impact on your health and well-being as you age.
Every time you make the right food choices and exercise regularly, you’re creating good habits that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Here is a very short list of just three tips. They will help you create healthy habits that the future will thank you for.
1. Take care of your bones
Strong bones are built during adolescence and early adulthood. This is because this is when the body’s ability to store calcium in the bones reaches its peak (1). This is a critical period during which you can maximally increase bone density. Try to get plenty of calcium (combined with the right amount of vitamin D – ask your trainer for details) in your diet (aim for 1000 mg per day) and do regular weight-bearing and high-impact exercise (2).
When it comes to building bone mass, these are two of the best things you can do when you’re younger to maintain healthy bones as you age (1).
Weight-bearing exercise helps maintain strong bones, and getting enough calcium* each day (needs increase to about 1,200 mg per day after age 50) helps reduce the amount that is lost from the bones to meet the needs of a healthy body (2).
2. Muscle mass and healthy weight
Building muscle mass can be achieved at any age. When you establish the right habits at an early age, you are much more likely to continue those habits throughout your life. This includes eating enough protein** and exercising for endurance. Lean body mass determines resting metabolic rate as well, so gaining muscle mass is one of the best defenses you have against the slow, gradual increase in body fat and weight as you age (3).
3. Maintaining beautiful skin
Your diet and the way you take care of your skin when you’re young can affect how it looks as you age. The skin relies on sufficient nutrients to maintain its internal structures. It looks and feels well-groomed, radiant and youthful, and drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent dryness.
Skin damage that happens when you’re young can show up decades later. That’s why it’s so important to get into the habit of taking good care of your skin now. There are countless care options, but starting a skin care routine is a lot easier than you think. Remember to cleanse and moisturize and apply sunscreen regularly when you’re young so you can maintain a healthy tan as you age.
And these 3 tips that your future self will thank you for are by no means just for women!
They apply to absolutely every person!
- Okayama, Kinouchi, & Watanable, 2021. Journal of Pediatric Care, 56, e56-e61.
- EFSA, EFSA Journal, 13(5), 4101, WHO, World Health Organization, 2010
- Ross et al., 2014. Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, pp.88-101.
*Calcium is needed to maintain healthy bones
**Proteins help the growth of muscle mass.