old dog

If you were never much of an athlete, this one is for you. Or if you were rather active at college/university but the working life got the better of you, then this one is for you too. And if you sometimes think about improving your health but never really make any changes because you think it's too late; well... yes, for you!

There's an old saying that goes as follows: ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. This proverb has been found in literature dating the 1500's and even then it was referred to as an old saying. So it must be really old. And a proverb that has stuck with mankind for so long must certainly be true!

Could not be more wrong!

the science

Experts agree that whatever healthy change you want to make, you can still see big benefits, regardless when you get started in life. Even for those who have gone years without exercising there are compelling benefits to get active, no matter what their age. It is well documented that people who are fitter and more active live longer and reduce their risk to heart disease which is, by far, the number one killer in the Western world.

Ok, let’s focus on the good news here which is that it is never too late to kick bad habits and make positive lifestyle changes!

lost cause

Let’s be honest, most of us weren’t probably paragons of health in our youth. Just think of all the student parties, alcohol, cigarettes, other substances… or before we knew that tanning beds are simply bad for you. Health experts say that a lot of damage can still be undone in many cases, our bodies are marvelous machines and cells keep renewing themselves for a long time. Reassuring to know it’s not a lost cause.

fit after forty

Don’t stop reading if you’re well in your 50’s or older, this applies to the category enviable over eighty too! The earlier you make healthy changes, the better, but scientist have found that ditching an unhealthy lifestyle in middle age can stop and even reverse the natural progression of coronary artery disease. Quitting smoking, cutting back on drinking, giving up on the couch potato lifestyle by starting to exercise and eating a healthier diet can undo heart damage and slash the risk of a heart attack.

be active

Back in 1993 a Yale University study found physical inactivity to be just as detrimental to your health as smoking! A sedentary lifestyle contributes to conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, anxiety and depression, and even some cancers, among others.

That should be enough information to get you to jump up and go for a walk right away.

If you've never exercised much, don't sweat, though (or actually, do sweat!): another university study suggests that moderate exercise - about 30 minutes of cardio, four or five times a week - is enough to start reversing the negative effects. And if you're not doing any sports at all, you can start by incorporating small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

new tricks

So you see, you should teach an old dog new tricks! Let’s summarize:

  1. improve your diet
  2. quit smoking
  3. use protective sunscreen (and stay away from the tanning beds)
  4. get quality sleep
  5. exercise

Now, these really are old tricks, aren’t they?

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