Prevention is the key to staying healthy well into your golden years. You don’t need to buy a lot of fancy gadgets, or to invest in expensive wellness plans to achieve optimum health. There are a few basic guiding principles that if followed correctly, should make all the difference.

While death and old age cannot be prevented, the point is to plan for aging gracefully and with as little pain as possible. Staying focused on making smart choices and taking care of yourself will ensure that you can lead an enjoyable life, especially with the help of your doctor. Here are a few tips to help you put things into perspective.

1-Healthy Eating

This one should be a no brainer, but there’s no underestimating how important diet is in helping to prevent future health issues. Eating mindfully with a focus on your overall well being rather than short-term indulgence is the time proven way to maintain good health and a strong physique well into old age.

You should eat food that contains “good” fats while avoiding saturated fats, foods high in cholesterol, and refined carbs such as sugars and white bread. Or, at least be sure to eat them in moderation. Not only do foods high in these substances cause significant weight gain, but they can also lead to chronic inflammation and contribute to all kinds of diseases, negatively affecting the heart. Or bringing about diabetes, and in some cases even cancer. It is important to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, load up on lean proteins, and even steer clear of over eating foods that are supposedly “low calorie,” or low sugar. Eating too much of these can be equally damaging since you are not only laying on the calories eventually, they are stuffed with fake chemicals that will only hurt your body in the long run.

2-Avoid Bad Habits

Smoking is a highly dangerous habit that is not only deadly to you, but to everyone around you. There is perhaps nothing more detrimental to health than cigarette smoke. While some claim it helps them to destress, this is nothing more than a placebo effect brought about a string of bad judgements and addiction to nicotine. If you are currently a smoker, it is strongly recommended that you quit. While it might be too late to undo all the damage caused by years of smoking, it will still help if you break the habit now, so as not to incur more bodily harm in the future. Studies featured on CPOE and other like-minded expert resources indicate that life expectancy is increased by at least ten years compared to those who smoke as they get older. Another bad habit to avoid is excessive drinking. Alcohol, especially when consumed in large quantities, has proven to be just as deadly, and it is also highly addictive. It can damage your liver, lead to heart disease and a plethora of health problems. Again, moderation is key and it’s best to drink alcohol in small amounts.

3-Regular Check-Ups

The role of your physician in continually overseeing your health is incredibly important. You should periodically keep them clued-in to your progress, and monitor things by doing labs and cholesterol tests.

Cholesterol especially is a silent killer, and it can be difficult to monitor whether you have high levels or not without a doctor’s intervention. Outward signs such as body mass are not enough of an indicator, and many seemingly fit people have high cholesterol. Following up with a doctor will let you know, and they can help by prescribing medication that will help keep things safe.

Another important reason to see your doctor regularly is by getting health screenings. These are designed to help catch potentially serious problems such as cancer or heart disease. It is especially prudent for women to get these screenings regularly, since they will help in early detection of breast cancer, amongst other dangerous issues.

4-Less Stress

Stress feels like such an amorphous state of being, doesn’t it? Simply stating “don’t stress too much” might even be annoying, since it’s hard to decipher what exactly is so dangerous about it. Turns out, a lot.

While high stress levels can just mean you are overly alert and ready to spring to action, too much of it for long stretches of time can be incredibly detrimental to your health. You will be unable to sleep, which has a hugely restorative effect on the body. And it might also lead to other problems such as high blood pressure, which can be deadly.

Channeling your anger and frustrations through calm inducing activities such as meditation and yoga have been proven to keep people healthy in the long run since they help modulate breathing and bring your stress levels down. Also, regular, high-intensity aerobic exercise allows a different avenue for keeping away those negative feelings and putting the over-abundance of adrenaline to good use.

5-Exercise

All of this brings us to one of the most important tips for avoiding health problems in the future: exercise. You don’t have to turn into a muscle fiend to get healthy – in fact, we would advise against it. Moderate exercise, whether in or outside a gym will do wonders for your health. It doesn’t need to be anything too rigorous, but plenty of walking – an average of 8000 to 10000 steps daily – should be more than enough. Or, you can exercise for short, ten-minute spurts walking fast or jogging. Do what feels best for you and customize each exercise plan accordingly.

Exercise does not only keep your weight down and your limbs flexible and limber, it helps you manage stress and anxiety better, combats heart disease, and other chronic health issues. All in all, it’s one of the best preventative measures you can take.

In the end, taking the initiative to prioritize your health is an important step in maintaining good health. Make sure to follow-up with your doctor and take these simple, easy to manage measures as a way to keep you healthy and strong for years to come.