You have to practice a healthy lifestyle to avoid most of the conditions that cause you to look and feel old. Eating and drinking in excess is definitely harmful. But even so, why is it that some people follow the rules and still get old while others age slower? It may be a matter of perception. People who live long and healthy lives have a purpose in life; they have a reason to get out of bed each morning. Make yourself indispensable. People who live long and productive lives do not feel old because they consider life worth living.
The correct step is to realize that getting older, while having its drawbacks, also has certain advantages, beyond looking 'distinguished' as you grey. Aging has more of positive aspects than negative ones; so keep a few things in mind about middle age and beyond. Emotionally, you are most stable at that stage. Maybe, your hair is thinning or you need bifocals, but will your kids love you any less because of it? Your family, your lifeline is probably more loving and understanding than what it was in yesteryears. Plus, with each passing year comes the added maturity to see things more rationally and with the experiences of life, which in itself is a great teacher.
Financially, you are at the prime of your career and earning potential. No longer green and still not ready to be sent to greener pastures, your graph in your professional life skyrockets, and promotions come more readily than they did a decade ago. After all you are taken more seriously now. As a result, you are able to buy those finer things and luxuries of life.
Intellectually, you have never been more capable. In fact, practical problem-solving ability peaks during the forties. It is greater than it was in your teens, twenties or thirties. So even though the brain cells are dying, experience and common sense — the stuff that comes only with age — more than makes up the difference. This seems to hold true well past the middle years.
Maybe you have lost something in certain aspects, but you have gained so much more in others. And once you realize this and can see your future through optimistic eyes, you will minimize your chances of feeling old. Not only will optimism help you be a little happier with the inevitable, it also may actually help you live longer.
Blaming your aches and pains on age itself, rather than on the actual cause — like playing football for too long — may shorten your life. Once you say a problem is due to old age, you have lost half the battle before it is fought. Of course optimists are made not born. The right attitude has to be cultivated. It is done so in realizing that the world does not come to an end if you do not win an election. It is to go out and run the race as best as you can. And that is something to keep in mind as you are about to run the most challenging laps of your life.
There are obvious things you can do to look and feel younger and live longer: Don't smoke. Exercise regularly. Eat a good diet. One of the secrets of aging well is the ability to come to grips with a decline in physical function that is real but still being able to use what you have to the fullest. Maybe you will never be a champion runner, but realize that even though you may be older, you can still do a lot of things — and still do them well!