To hear some people tell it, gaining weight, feeling exhausted and catching every cold are normal signs of aging. But Frank Lipman, MD, author of The New Rules of Aging Well (Buy on Amazon, $17.59), begs to differ. “All of these problems — losing mental sharpness, looking puffy, feeling lousy — are absolutely not a given: They’re a call to action,” he encourages.
Even if you’ve been under stress or eaten a less-than-healthy diet (hello, holiday season!), it’s easy to repair the damage, he promises. “Once I made a few changes in my lifestyle, I quickly saw results. These days, I’m often mistaken for someone decades younger.” All it takes is a few simple tweaks to have a dramatic impact on how you feel now and for years to come.
Switch up your shoes.
Healthy feet are a must for staying active and pain-free, says Dr. Lipman. And switching up your shoes and the surfaces you walk on regularly is key. “Your feet need to walk in different shoes to stay nimble and healthy,” he asserts. “I recommend having at least three pairs of comfortable shoes and rotating them.” And kick off your shoes when you’re at home. “Walking barefoot engages all sorts of tiny muscles that are constricted by shoes most of the day.”
Sip this brew.
Mushrooms are loaded with compounds that support immunity and energy. That’s why Dr. Lipman suggests sipping chaga mushroom tea daily. “It’s delicious,” he says. “And it’s been shown to prime the immune system and help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.” One study also found that chaga revs energy by 35 percent. A brand to try: Buddha Teas Chaga Tea (BuddhaTeas.com).
Roll it out.
Massaging muscles with a foam roller improves mobility and reduces pain. “And because it makes the body move more efficiently, rolling can be a first line of defense against knee or hip replacements,” asserts Dr. Lipman. He suggests placing a roller under a sore muscle and slowly rolling up and down over a small area six times while you’re watching TV.
Make a salt swap.
“Unrefined crystal salts, like sea salt, contain minerals the body needs,” says Dr. Lipman, adding that nutrients in these salts aid in metabolism and wound healing. “But recent research found microplastics, which are linked to hormonal problems, in sea salt. That’s why I suggest switching to mountain salt, like pink Himalayan or Redmond salt, which have the same minerals — without the plastic.”
Ending a warm shower with a blast of cold water can boost energy and help cells age in reverse. “It’s instantly invigorating,” says Dr. Lipman. “And this small stressor activates the body’s internal self-cleaning system, improving cellular repair.” Indeed, studies show a 45-second cold blast boosts energy and focus by 50 percent. The “cool” strategy has also been shown to reduce even chronic pain by 62 percent for hours.
Be actively kind.
“Staying positive can have a profound impact on health,” says Dr. Lipman. In fact, Georgetown researchers found that doing a small kindness each day reduces premature aging by 60 percent. “Make a point of practicing active kindness: Tip your server well, return your shopping cart, hold the door.” Why? Helping others spurs the release of compounds that help the brain, heart and immune system function at peak.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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