September is National Healthy Aging Month. Even though the New Year is still over three months away, there is no better time to start than now to get you back on track. No matter what shape you may be in, here are some helpful tips to consider adding to your daily routine which will keep you aging gracefully.

Stand don't sit- According to a new study by Dr. David Hall at Adventists Health Occupation Medicine, sitting more than 11 hours a day can increase your chances of dying early by up to 40%. With many employees putting in well over the usual 8 hour shift these days; finding the time to stand/walk while at work is more important than ever. Reduce the time on your backside today for a healthier you.

Lose weight and prolong your life- Aside from taking stress off your joints and improving your overall energy, losing extra pounds will add years to your life. The National Cancer Institute just published a study that reveals extreme obesity may shorten life expectancy up to 14 years. Even if you aren't considered morbidly obese, just think about how much better you will feel with increased stamina and improved confidence that come along with losing weight.

Stay in the shade and cover up- It doesn't matter where you live these days, as the sun is getting stronger. The BBC reported that the number of people being admitted to the hospital for skin cancer treatment in England rose by nearly a third in the past five years. England has slightly over 100 days of sun each year. Now if you happen to live in southern California where there is close to 300 days of sun each year, think about how much more damage can occur to your skin. Cover up with a high quality sunscreen, UV/UB protective sunglasses, and hydrate prior to sun exposure to reduce your risks of sun damage.

You are what you eat- This isn't anything you haven't heard thousands of times before. Eating better will make you feel better. In America we are spoiled with fast foods and processed food that is cheap and easy. Unfortunately these same foods are the reasons we get sick and develop illnesses that can be avoided. Try limiting your consumption of red meat, replacing highly processed snacks with vegetables, and trading your soda and juice in for purified water. It may take some time to get used to, but by doing it now you can avoid costly medical procedures and medications down the road.

Exercise daily- Don't worry, you don't have to get into the gym two hours daily. Take just 30 minutes to start a walking program with some simple stretches to get yourself started. Once you get into the swing of things, you can find yourself a credentialed personal trainer or licensed physical therapist to get into a safe resistance training program. Remember, starting now will make exercise second nature in just a few months and keep your doctor visits to a minimum.

So get started today, not next week or next month. Aging can be as good as or as bad as you make it. Only you have the ability to choose which path you will take.

Yours in health,

Keith Pacific