Outside the Box: How to make 60 the new 30

A few decades ago, 60-year-olds were considered barely able to compete in the business world, be in shape or a vital part of a healthy, sexual, intimate relationship.

But times have changed.

If someone would’ve asked me 40 years ago what my life would look like at age 61, it would have been a far cry from the way I live today. Of course, there are many 40- to 70-year-olds who are in horrendous shape. But for people who are willing to put in the effort, aging in America is a thing of the past.

Follow the tips below to feel decades younger and healthier.

1. Eat well. Poor diet is the top cause of disease in our country today. High blood pressure. High triglycerides. Type two diabetes. High cholesterol. Fatigue. Insomnia. So many of these conditions can be tied directly to our diet. If you want to feel like you’re 30 when you’re 60 years of age or older you need to be eating a healthy, clean diet. Eat lots of lean protein, vegetables and a medium amount of fruit. Limit carbohydrates like bread, cookies, crackers, rice and pasta.

2. Take a look at your dark side. What habits do you have — alcohol, smoking, fast food, gambling — that could be aging you? The things that we don’t want to talk about and are embarrassed about.

At first it might seem like I’m offering a boring life. But far from it. When I look at friends my age who are on six, seven or eight medications a day for cholesterol, blood pressure, depression, anxiety and more, I know right away it’s because they haven’t taken care of the demons within. Some physical and mental health issues are genetic and medication can’t be avoided, but in many cases, it can be if you take better care of yourself and seek the right help.

Work with a counselor or a coach. When you decrease your stress, you increase your vitality.

Read: 5 ways just going outside can improve your health

3. Exercise. The people in their 60s and 70s today who look and feel like they’re in their 30s can attribute most of it to an exercise program — not just their genetics. We have to make a commitment to a daily exercise program, which could be uncomfortable at first, if we want to have the energy and vitality of a 30-year-old. And it’s worth it. You can do this. I don’t have any secret other than dedication and perseverance, and you were born with those two things as well. Exercise five to six times a week, and 12 months from now you will have a radically transformed body.

4. Help others. This is one of the greatest antiaging secrets. When you’re willing to help others who are in need of your service, it’s amazing how much more energy you bring into this world.

Some people do this through activities like Habitat for Humanity, their church, others by working with Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, and some people read to the blind or bring meals to housebound seniors. It doesn’t matter how you offer your time and expertise, but it’s crucial to give back.

5. Look within. Daily meditation, prayer, journaling is an absolute must to calm the mind, open the spirit, and take on the energy of a 30-year-old when you’re 60, 70 or older. Over the years studies have shown the connection between high-functioning immune systems and people who regularly are involved in some type of spiritual practice.

It can be church, or for others spending time every morning in nature, doing yoga or Pilates can also be spiritual exercises. Having gratitude for everyday things, especially in writing, is crucial to have a younger mind-set and a younger body.

David Essel, M.S., is the author of many books, including “Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life, But This Book Will,” a counselor, master life coach, radio and TV host, and international speaker.

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