When I bought my mid century home, the front yard was on the list of things I wanted to renovate. I had done quite a bit to improve the street appeal of the house, but the spotty turf, concrete driveway ribbons, and anemic shrubbery had to go. I consulted a talented landscaper who developed a detailed, hardscape plan. The area was graded and resurfaced with new sod, shrubs and irrigation system; a retention wall and a decorative paver walk and driveway completed the transformation. Since the installation, it has been easy to maintain with routine lawn care. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when neighbors walking by compliment the way the front yard looks and tell me how the yard flatters the house. Developing a plan, executing the plan and then regular maintenance are steps that can be applied to how we can manage our appearance and health so we can look and feel great whatever our age.

Assess the Situation

So how do you develop a plan to manage how you age? It takes a sometimes uncomfortable assessment of facial aging and the current state of our weight, bone mass, diet and exercise patterns. Photographs serve as our “before pictures” and body composition analysis creates a baseline. Family History can point to diseases for which we may be at increased risk. Laboratory testing of kidney function, cholesterol, triglycerides and hemoglobin A1C are surrogate markers for future medical problems like chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and diabetes. Now we have genetic predictors of cancers that can provide us with additional motivation for cancer screenings and lifestyle changes.

Develop a Strategy

Next, this information can be distilled down into a strategy for managing how we age. We can’t change our genetics, but we can choose a healthier lifestyle including a better diet with a higher fiber content, a moderate alcohol intake, and a limited salt intake. Discuss your plans for starting or intensifying an exercise program with your health care provider before you start to make sure you are in shape to be able to exercise.

Execute the Transformation

Any large task seems daunting at first so break it down into smaller, easily reached short term steps to reach your ultimate goal. Consider what additional financial expenses you may incur from gym memberships, nutritional supplements, and personal care treatments and products. Set reasonable timelines and factor in time for temporary interruptions. Track your progress- everybody likes to see incremental improvement whether it is the way their clothes fit or they appear more rested and refreshed.

Maintain the Change

Once you have reached your goals, you are likely to see a fitter, more youthful and vibrant person looking back at you in the mirror. Friends, coworkers, and even random strangers will likely comment on how you look and I guarantee you will like it! Perpetuate these changes with better lifestyle habits and ongoing maitainence care to protect your investment of time and money. When you know you are actively managing how you age and seeing great results you can’t help “feeling good”.

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