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50+: Live Better, Longer

Healthy Living Is the Real Fountain of Youth

While there's no magic bullet to guarantee aging beautifully, you can take simple steps to keep you looking and feeling younger.
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6. Maintain Your Memory 

Your brain isn't a muscle, but it can still benefit from a good workout. "It's called mental aerobics," Peeke says. Doing sudoku puzzles, learning a new language, or going to a museum with friends all can be part of your cognitive fitness program. Just as you alternate between cardio and strength training when you exercise your body, mix up your mental routine. 

"Build your brain reserve by challenging it and having it do things it's not used to doing," says Marie Savard, MD, an internist specializing in women's health and author of Ask Dr. Marie: Straight Talk and Reassuring Answers to Your Most Private Questions. In other words, if you work with numbers all day, do crossword puzzles at night. If you're normally right-handed, try eating with your left hand for a few days. 

While you're exercising your mind, don't forget to work out your body. Aerobic exercise boosts blood flow to parts of the brain that keep your memory sharp. Research finds that working out just three times a week could cut your risk of Alzheimer's by up to 40%. 

7. The Anti-Aging Diet 

Speaking of which … the body's middle-aged spread is no myth. Once you hit menopause, you're looking at an average weight gain of 1 pound a year.  The best way to lose it is with a personalized diet plan, Peeke says. Just like you mix and match designers in your wardrobe, mix and match your diet, picking the elements from each program you're most likely to stick with. 

"You pluck a little from here and you pluck a little from there and you customize," Peeke says. No matter what you eat -- eat less of it. "It takes about 15 minutes to half an hour for the brain to realize you've had enough to eat," says Legato. Start with half-sized portions and put down the knife and fork between bites so your brain has time to realize you're full.  

Keeping that swimsuit-ready body also means exercising. If you're too busy to hit the gym, squeeze small 10- to 15-minute bursts of exercise into your routine. "Figure out all the ways you can trick yourself into moving more," says Savard. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the farthest spot at your office, and do leg lifts while watching TV.

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Reviewed on September 02, 2010

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