If you feel stuck in a rut from years of bad habits that leave you feeling sluggish and overweight, it’s never too late to change your course to a healthy and happier lifestyle. First, you have to commit to leaving your old ways in the dust and forging a new path with habits that benefit your health instead of harming it. If you’re ready to start this new journey, Senior Care Central presents the following roadmap you can follow.

Eat Whole Foods

If you own a sports car and put the wrong kind of fuel in its tank, it won’t run very well. The same is true for your body. Eating calorie-heavy processed foods full of saturated fat may taste good, but it slows your digestion and worsens some health conditions, like IBD. You can alleviate the symptoms of IBD (which include fatigue and abdominal cramping) by seeing your doctor for medication and a course of antibiotics. In addition, you can prevent future flare-ups by taking peppermint oil supplements when symptoms start and committing to eating fiber-rich whole foods.

Whole foods give you the nutrition you need for optimal energy and to keep your body running smoothly. Following this meal plan is simple. Eat food that nature made instead of processed food made in laboratories. Fill your plate with organic fruit and vegetables, free-range eggs, wild-caught seafood, meat from pasture-raised animals and natural dairy products. Choose whole-grain bread, brown rice and buckwheat pancakes. A quick online search can give you plenty of recipes to try out at home.

Get Moving Every Day

Your sports car won’t run as designed if it sits unused in your garage for months at a time. Likewise, your body functions best when you get moving with some exercise every day. Studies show regular exercise improves your balance and decreases your chances of falling by 23%. It also fills you with endorphins that leave you feeling energetic and lively! Commit to 30 minutes a day of activities that won’t cause overexertion but get your heart pumping and your breath flowing. Ideas include:

  • Brisk walks
  • Strength training
  • Yoga
  • Water aerobics
  • Pilates
  • Swimming

Avoid exercises that could cause injury, like running, bench presses, rock climbing and high-intensity interval activities.

Stay Social

That sports car of yours loves being seen out in public. Research shows that staying socially active in your retirement years leads to an overall positive mood and increases self-confidence. It can also decrease your risk of developing dementia and help ward off cardiovascular disease when compared to seniors who isolate themselves. To meet others, volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about, start a new hobby, join a church or synagogue, or take up a social sport, such as golf or tennis.

Sleep Soundly

You may have noticed you get sleepy earlier in the evening and tend to rise before the sun comes up. These changes are normal and won’t harm you as long as you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sound sleep a night. Your body needs the rest to recharge you mentally and physically. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, consult with your doctor to find a solution.

You can make the most of your retirement years by ditching your old bad habits for a healthier path. These proactive changes can leave you feeling energized and ready to take a friend out on the road for a spin in your sporty car.