The decisions that you make about your habits and lifestyle will shape your life. There are many choices we make each day, from the food we eat to the hobbies we keep. You can be healthy and vibrant later in life by making wise choices. Even if you have had poor health habits in the past, it’s never too late to change. The choice is yours.

The way we treat our bodies and minds can make a big difference. Making smart decisions can payoff. Each choice you make about your lifestyle will have a domino effect. One area of our lives, like the food we eat may affect another. It’s important to recognize this and maintain a healthy balance. Let’s take a look at some things we can to do age well and stay healthy.

*Always speak with your doctor BEFORE making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Steps to Take

Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a red flag. It can lead to major health problems including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. It’s important to monitor your blood pressure levels to prevent any damage before it happens.

Things you can do:

· Exercise regularly

· Stay within a healthy weight range

· Eat whole fruits, veggies and low fat foods

· Lower you salt intake

· Avoid excessive drinking – no more than 1 to 2 drinks a day

Exercising is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Overweight people are more at risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and a slew of other health problems.

By exercising you can control your weight and lower blood pressure. Exercise keeps your mentally sharp and increases muscle strength.

Things you can do:

· Exercise from 30 to 60 minutes everyday

· Eat a healthy diet

· Eat smaller portions

· Don’t eat right before bed

· Monitor your cholesterol level

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your blood cells. The higher your cholesterol level, the greater the risk of heart disease and heart attack.

Things you can do:

· Lower your fat intake

· Eat food that is high in fiber such as oatmeal, bananas and beans

· Eat healthy fats like almonds, walnuts and avocado

· Avoid bad habits like drinking and smoking

Unhealthy habits such as excessive drinking or smoking tobacco increase your risk for many health problems. Smoking causes 1/3 of all the cancer related deaths in the US and drinking can cause cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage and weight gain.

Things you can do:

· Find healthy habits like exercise to replace smoking

· Set a limit of 1 or 2 drinks per day

· Maintain strong social relationships

Many people wouldn’t think that having strong social relationships would have a significant impact on health, but studies have shown otherwise. People who keep regular, active friendships tend to be healthier and more mentally alert.

Friends can make you feel important and loved. Support from friends can help recovery from issues like stroke or heart attack.

Things you can do:

· Keep in touch with friends

· Go on outings

· Make friends with younger people. Your peers won’t always be around and having younger friends can be very rewarding

· Volunteer, take a class or join a club

The good news about getting older is that we can age well. It’s up to you and making a healthy choice can make all the difference. We make thousands of choices every day and there are many aspects of our health that we can control. Even if we have made poor health choices in the past, it’s never too late to make smart decisions and reap the benefits of healthy living.