These small lifestyle changes will boost health and wellbeing. Try them today
Swap aerobics for weights
As we age, our bone density decreases, putting us at higher risk of injury. Weight training can help prevent this.
‘Just one session of weight training a week will preserve your muscle,’ explains James Davis from Midlife Mentors. ‘Twice a week will make muscles leaner and stronger.’
Check your skin
Checking moles once a month could save your life — skin cancer caught early is easily treatable. Here’s what to look for, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Asymmetry: Do both halves look the same?
Border: Is the edge uneven?
Colour: Is it more than one colour?
Diameter: Is it bigger than 6mm?
Evolution: Has the mole changed recently?
Swap white for wholemeal
The gut is known as our second brain, because so many neurostransmitters that affect our mood are produced there.
James says: ‘Studies have shown that improving our gut flora can lower anxiety and depression and raise our metabolism.’
Swap white bread for wholemeal to feed the healthy bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Go shopping without a list
The old adage ‘use it or lose it’ is true, and little tricks can help prevent memory loss as we age.
Shopping without a list means you have to work out a strategy to remember all the items. Some people put things into categories, others think of the supermarket aisles. Do this regularly to keep your brain sharp.
Early to bed
You can’t ‘catch up’ on lost sleep, but you can feel more rested by going to bed an hour earlier twice a week.
‘Two nights in a row is even better, as it builds up your sleep storage,’ says Dr Mayoni from the Human Health Clinic (drmhumanhealth.co.uk).
If swimming in icy water doesn’t appeal, you can still get the benefits of cold water therapy by lowering the temperature of your shower. Not only has it been shown to release the feel-good hormone dopamine, but scientists have found that a daily 30-second blast of cold water reduces your risk of catching flu.
Use a straw
Fizzy and sugary drinks can be a disaster for your teeth, but a straw could reduce the damage.
‘If you’re drinking acidic fruit juices or fizzy drinks, drinking through a straw will reduce the contact time on your teeth,’ explains dentist Katie Davis. ‘But you still need to clean properly.’
Swap meat for fish
Swapping meat for oily fish once a week could make a huge difference to your heart health.
James says: ‘Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, is high in Omega-3 fats, which have been shown to benefit our heart health, lower blood pressure and improve circulation.’
According to studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, high-impact activities such as jumping help to strengthen bones. Try it while you wait for the kettle to boil!
Have a booze break
Your liver works hard to rid your body of nasties, including alcohol. But sometimes it needs a rest.
‘Drinking too much alcohol regularly means the liver doesn’t get a chance to regenerate,’ explains Vanessa Hebditch from the British Liver Trust. ‘Two or three consecutive alcohol-free days a week gives it vital recovery time.’
Stand on one leg while brushing
As we get older, we lose our sense of balance and are more likely to fall. You should be able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds — and at least eight seconds with your eyes closed. Improve your balance by standing on one leg while cleaning your teeth.
Use SPF every day
Even when it’s not sunny, UV rays can cause skin damage. Most signs of ageing on our skin are a result of too much sun. Protect your skin every day with a high-factor sun screen.
Eat sugary snacks with meals
We all know sugar damages our teeth, but did you know it’s the constant grazing between meals that does the most damage?
Dentist Katis Davis says: ‘To protect your teeth and still eat sugar, make sure you eat your sugary snacks with your meals, as the saliva produced while eating, protects the teeth from the acid produced by sugar.’
Edited by Clare Swatman