Most of us want to live a long life—but even more importantly, we want to be as energetic and healthy as possible as we get older. Happily there are things we can do to help us get there.

More and more, research is showing that improving your lifestyle can help postpone disability in later years—and you don’t have to wait until you’re retired to make those changes.
You have the ability to take control of your health and your life at any age and at any stage. Here are a few ways to jump start your lifestyle for a healthier old age, whether you’re 20 or 80.

Walk out your work breaks.

Instead of sitting in a break room, use those breaks to get up and move. Adding two small walks throughout your day can add up. Take the stairs and visit a local coffee shop a few blocks away from the office. Even better—find coworkers who also want a walking break and make it a daily ritual!

Try a new way to move.

If you already have an exercise you love, by all means stick with it. But you can always try something new, too! Explore fitness classes or activities that seem appealing, like Zumba, water aerobics, or yoga. Mixing it up can create new social connections and encourage muscles that aren’t used regularly.

It’s never too late to improve your health and vitality through exercise. Julia Hawkins took up running at the age of 100. She now holds the age-group world record for the 100 meter dash!
Swap sugary desserts for fruit. No matter your age, eating a little something sweet after dinner never gets old! If you’re trying to avoid refined grains and sugar, consider the fruit. Fruit wraps its delicious sweetness inside a package of healthy fiber and phytonutrients, making it as good for you as it is good tasting. Here are ten dessert ideas low on refined sugar but high on flavor.

Stay Connected.

Keeping up a social life can help with quality of life in any part of the aging process. Find a way to connect with others. Do you know your neighbors? Have friends who like to walk like you do? Find community classes to take or volunteer at local school. By keeping strong connections, your life will feel more meaningful and fulfilling.

Visit Your Doctor.

Make September the month to schedule your annual physical. Regular exams and screenings can help your and your doctor identify any health issues before they start. By being proactive about doctor’s visits, you can avoid unnecessary worry about your health.