There is nothing that compares to being a parent! In fact, parenting is so rewarding we tend to focus entirely on our kids' needs and often forget about our own health.
Not focusing on our own health however, can actually make us age faster!
Why You Need To Make Your Health A Priority
We all want to see our kids grow up, graduate college, and get married. We want to enjoy the grandchildren we will have someday.
When you are younger, eating healthy and getting exercise may not be a priority. A busy schedule can consume your time and even stress you out.
When you are in your 20’s and 30’s you don’t think about your health very much. Your body feels good, you eat what you want, and you can live on 4 hours of sleep.
The only time you think about going to the doctor is when you are sick.
How Health and Aging Are Related
How does focusing on your health now, help you with aging later?
When you don’t pay attention to what you eat, how much activity you are getting, and your sleeping patterns, your lifestyle catches up with you.
Your body changes with age. It does not recharge as fast as it used to, and skin cells don’t turn over as quickly to form new cells. Yep, you guessed it, wrinkles!
The fast-food you didn’t care about eating when you were younger, can increase your risk for chronic health conditions like:
● Heart disease
● High blood sugar
● High blood pressure
● Joint pain
The CDC estimates that 6 out of 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic health condition and 4 out of 10 have two or more chronic diseases.
You can slow down the aging process and reduce your risk of chronic health conditions by being mindful of your health now rather than later.
Here are some behaviors you can start focusing on that can help you age more gracefully.
Sleep: Getting enough sleep is critical to your health. Our body repairs oxidative damage during the night, and the brain refreshes and prepares for the next day. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when you have a lot of things on your plate. You are either up late or can't fall asleep. Try forming a bedtime routine and make getting at least 7 hours of sleep a priority.
Unhealthy habits: Your lifestyle also has a lot to do with aging. Smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol, and excessive caffeine can speed up the aging process. These behaviors can take their toll on your body and make you look and feel older than you really are. Try eliminating unhealthy behaviors one at a time. If stress is an issue, talk to a professional about managing your stress in a healthy way.
Diet: What you eat is extremely vital to your health. Whole foods such as fruit, veggies, nuts, meat, legumes, and fish contain the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and prevent premature aging. Eating out a lot or consuming processed foods adds low nutritional value and more fat, sodium, and chemical preservatives to your diet. Try planning and cooking meals ahead of time. Prepare snacks you can take with you.
Activity: Exercise is critical to keep your body strong and healthy as you age. Moving your body keeps your joints lubricated, muscles and tendons strong and flexible, and keeps your heart and lungs in shape. It can also help with neck and back problems from sitting at a desk all day.
Start with 10 minutes of exercise every other day and work up to 20 minutes. You may find it helpful to have a coach to help you with both diet and exercise. Coaches can keep you motivated and accountable!
Your kids are one of the most meaningful aspects of your life. You want to be there when they grow up and have their own families. In order to do that, you need to take care of yourself too!
Think about focusing more on your health as an investment. A retirement account, that you need to put money into now so that later you can live your life to the fullest.