It is never too late to develop behaviors that can help you feel your best as you age. But beginning the day in a manner that is good for your body (and mind) might be extremely beneficial.
“I find a clear association between excellent lifestyle behaviors and general health in my treatment of patients,” says Jennifer Atmore, MD, a senior medicine physician at Texas Health Presbyterian Allen and Texas Health Physicians Group. And if you practice such behaviors first thing in the morning, you may be more inclined to keep up the good work later on. “Starting the day with little but significant successes sets the tone for a good day,” says Dr. Atmore.
We’re not talking about getting out of bed to run a marathon or down a green smoothie. These five strategies are simple and pleasant while yet packing a powerful stay-healthy punch.
Make Yourself a Cup of Coffee
Sure, it’ll make you feel better. But what’s more important? It is related to living a longer life.
According to a May-June 2018 study in Progress in Cardiovascular Illnesses, moderate coffee drinking (three to four cups daily) is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer, and several neurological disorders.
Plain black coffee provides the most health advantages. “It has all of the good flavonoids and antioxidants without any of the inflammatory components that come from too much sugar or creamy ingredients,” explains Dana Ellis Hunnes, Ph.D., MPH, RD, senior nutritionist at UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe for Survival.
If the flavor is too strong, she suggests adding a teaspoon of sugar or a splash of non-dairy milk.
Consume a Warm Breakfast
Settle for eggs and whole-grain bread, scrambled tofu with vegetables, or flavorful oatmeal over cold cereal or a pastry. According to Hunnes, sugary meals cause inflammation and urge the body to retain more fat. According to a February 2019 research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Adults who consume more than 20% of their daily calories from sugar had a 30% increased mortality risk compared to those who consume between 7.5 and 10% of their total calories. Savory breakfasts often offer the additional advantage of being richer in protein. (Two scrambled eggs contain 12 grams, but a blueberry muffin has just 6 grams.)
Read While Eating
As you have your first meal of the day, read the newspaper or start a new book.
“It is advised to attempt to engage the brain for optimal performance,” adds Dr. Atmore. “Reading is a simple action that may be done on a regular basis to improve cerebral stimulation.” According to a January 2021 International Psychogeriatrics research, adults who read at least once a week were less likely to develop leading negative consequences 14 years later.
Take a Walk
It goes without saying that regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. And physical exercise becomes even more important as we become older.” Being active helps to maintain balance and mental health,” explains Dr. Atmore.
According to American Family Physician’s April 2017 activity recommendations for older individuals, reducing inactive time will also protect your heart, help you maintain a healthy weight, and support stable blood sugar levels.
Stretch to Relax
Flexibility exercises help keep your joints limber, making it simpler to do daily chores like reaching for high things or getting dressed. According to American Family Physician, the optimal time to perform them is after moderate aerobic or resistance activity.