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The Secret to Healthy Aging is Starting Early

To age well, start now, no matter how old – or young – you are. That’s the advice from a group of experts in medicine, nutrition, and wellness. Whether you’re 20, 40 or 60-plus, healthier aging begins with choices we make every day about exercise, eating, and taking care of health issues that crop up. Here are a few simple tips.

  • From Joy Bauer, a nutritionist and the author of “From Junk Food to Joy Food”: Go meatless one to two days a week. Eating less beef, pork, and poultry (and in its place, more plant-based foods) often means a lower body mass index, improved cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a decreased disease risk.
  • Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and author of “Mind Over Meds”: Strength training with weights and weight-bearing exercise like running, walking, and cycling develop the muscles and bones you need in later life. Also be sure your diet includes calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy greens and sesame.
  • Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York: The early adult years are the peak age for the onset of many psychiatric problems, including anxiety and depression. Catching problems early not only will ensure a faster recovery, it also could change the entire trajectory of one’s life.
  • Gunnar Peterson, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer: Make a fitness plan and stick to it: Lock in a routine that incorporates strength and cardio. The important thing is having a plan, and the more precise it is, the easier it is to follow. Schedule it the way you would a job interview or a business trip.