We start out life with hopes, dreams and expectations. We grow up, make friends and carve out a career that we enjoy and that matters to us. All the while we do this, we make a family. We have children and then grandchildren, and find ourselves facing our twilight years in what feels like the blink of an eye. Sometimes, these years run away from us without us realising and there’s every chance that while you nurtured your career and your ambition, and while you raised your family, you forgot about yourself.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of self-help books, videos, blogs, websites and audio podcasts. These all tell you how you can take care of your mental health, your emotional health, your physical wellbeing and your diet. With so many self-help options on the market, there’s no shortage of people out there telling you how to live your life. The one thing you need more than anything else in life, is confidence that you know what is best for you. You need to feel assured that while the advice and help is there for you when you may need it, you don’t need to look just yet.

So, how can you make sure you enter the later part of your life whole and intact? How can you ensure that you have taken care of yourself along the way?

Start Young. Your health doesn’t begin at its decline. It begins from the moment you oversee it yourself. Diet, exercise, therapy and meditation all should have featured in your early life so that you can be healthier and more in control of your feelings in later life. Life insurances, AARP Medicare Advantage Plans and other health plans that can give you support should all have been implemented when you were young, so that you have a back-up for later life. Being prepared starts at a young age, but it’s never too late to change that if you didn’t.

Stay Active. Just because your body is aging, doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Of course, understand your limits so you don’t injure yourself, but don’t let your age hold you back from having fun. Stay as active as possible and keep your heart healthy and make it a habit so that you are never too far from a good, brisk walk in the local park.

Watch Your Nutrition. There’s nothing wrong with indulging sometimes, but a healthy diet means a healthy digestive system and less risk of problems in later life. Eating a balanced diet full of fruit, vegetables and protein is going to keep your insides clean and working in the correct way. Too much alcohol, smoking and saturated fat is not going to help your insides or keep you feeling energised.

Being aware of your body is one of the most important things you need to do to be able to look after yourself in later life. It’s all about laying a good groundwork from a young age, but if you’ve missed the boat, make the changes now to reverse any damage, and you’ll be living a healthier life for longer.