Healthy aging may be as much about avoiding certain behaviors as it is about being proactive with positive behaviors.
The following habits are known threats to healthy aging because they increase your likelihood of developing acute or chronic disease:
- Cigarette smoking or other nicotine use
- Intaking alcohol beyond moderate use (more than 2 drinks daily for men or 1 drink daily for women)
- Sitting excessively or living an otherwise sedentary lifestyle
- Intaking excessive calories, leading to abdominal obesity
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as illicit drug use, unprotected sexual intercourse, or operating motor vehicles without safety equipment
- Living in a high-stress environment
By avoiding the above activities, you can add years to your life and ensure that you are maximizing your health status.
Know Your Personal Risks
We are in control of much of our ability to age in a healthy way, however we cannot control the makeup of our genes. When it comes to healthy aging, knowledge is power. Interview your loved ones to find out what health risks may be lurking in your family tree. You may be surprised to discover a genetic condition you were unaware of, a pattern of early cardiovascular disease, or a specific type of cancer. Regardless of what you find, once you are fully informed about your genetic history, you can work with your healthcare provider to do the necessary screenings so that you can detect the presence of disease as soon as possible.