By Robin Smyth

As we age and our bodies start to change, we inevitably experience minuscule declinations in health and fitness. A little creak in the knees, loss of muscle mass and an inability to lose weight are a few of the little surprises Mother Nature has in store for us as we push past 40 and upwards.

Having a long-term strategy for wellness in place may become the difference between aging gracefully, and a life of pain and dependency on others. If you are approaching a certain age and have never been one to watch what you eat or exercise, its likely time to consider updating your daily routine.

It’s not necessary to take up a strenuous workout regime or embark on a crash diet. Drastic changes are generally dropped quickly anyway. Try adding a daily walk for starters. Walking is a great way to keep limber while you enjoy some fresh air. Plus, there are no membership fees to the great outdoors. If you think that walking is boring, invite friends to join or take music along with you. Just get stepping!

Pilates is amazing for maintaining body strength and flexibility. It’s easy to take up and can be done in your living room or in class. Planking is one of the best head-to-toe exercise moves available and involves only you and the floor. If you seriously have no time or energy for any other type of workout, take at least two minutes a day to plank.

As far as diet goes, stick to smart choices. Don’t starve yourself, but don’t binge eat either. We should all be aware of what is good and bad for us. If you don’t, ask a doctor or nutritionist for some sensible guidelines.

There is no magic pill to take to help us age gracefully, so be prepared to do a little work on a daily basis.

The minor losses of strength and function will continue to build as the years go by. Nobody gets a pass on the effects of age and gravity on the body. It’s up to each of us to maintain a maximum functionality, so be sure to have a physical evolution plan firmly in place in advance of the onset of deterioration.

Robin Smyth has contributed to newsletters, business publications, inter-company webpages and blog sites. She has reported on multiple genres engaging a variety of styles and is known for her one draft, no edits style of writing. Follow her on Twitter @RobinDS3.