Staying in good shape is important at any age, but as you begin to get older, you start to really notice the effects of ignoring your health. Staying in optimum condition, both physically and mentally, is something you need to be aware of and make part of your everyday life. However, keeping yourself in good health doesn't have to be a chore, in fact, it can be a lot of fun. If you're wondering how you'll find ways to stay robust as the years go by, here are six helpful suggestions to get you headed in the right direction.

Lose the Belly

As you enter midlife, keeping weight off is a challenge because of slowing metabolism. You have to cut major calories and work twice as hard to lose the same few pounds you did when you were younger. Middle age is also the time when people start packing on belly fat. This type of fat is especially dangerous because it puts you at high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As you enter this phase of life, start formulating a plan that includes a better diet, exercise and taking the best fat burner you can find to lose that extra weight around the waist.

Walk the Walk

When it comes to exercise, if you've been talking the talk but haven't walked the walk, it's time to lace-up. Walking is the perfect exercise for athletic types as well as those that have led a sedentary life. Walking takes little effort and produces major results. Even if you can only walk five or ten minutes to begin, you'll work your way up to thirty minutes and then to an hour in a few short months. Walking is much better on the knees and joints than running and puts less stress on the body. Taking a walk is also a wonderful way to clear your mind and get some fresh air.

Start Lifting Weights

One of the most noticeable downsides to aging is the loss of muscle tone. You might realize you don't feel as strong as you were, or you look in the mirror and see that your legs look skinnier. Luckily, you can build your muscles back through strength training. Lifting weights doesn't mean you have to join a gym. You can begin by doing simple weight bearing exercises such as push-ups and lifting dumbbells. Another benefit of strength training is that it makes for strong bones and helps prevent injuries. Remember to rest a day between lifting so that your muscles have a chance to heal themselves.

Break Your Habits

If you have a habit that's holding you back from being your best self, now's the time to break it. Bad habits can come in many forms and not just the ones you hear about most often like smoking or drinking. If there's something you can't get control of such as compulsive eating, watching too much TV or being a procrastinator, it could be negatively affecting your health. The first step is realizing that your behavior is a problem. The second step is finding a solution to slowly dissolve the habit or, in the case of smoking and addictions, consulting your doctor.

Quit Processed Foods

Everyone has their favorite convenience foods and there's nothing wrong with a treat once in a while. However, if you've relied on boxed, canned or frozen meals most of your life,you're putting your health at risk. Part of staying fit is eliminating processed and inflammatory foods that will damage you from the inside out. Instead, choose whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy and grass-fed meats for this stage of your life. These single-ingredient foods will provide you with all the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need to optimize your health.

Get Socially Involved

While diet and fitness directly contribute to your health, so does getting involved in social activities. Loneliness isn't good for anyone, therefore it's important to stay connected to loved ones. Reach out often to your friends and family and stay active with them. Have them accompany you on your walk or exercise routine. If you have spare time on your hands, think about volunteering. It benefits you just as much as it does the person you're helping. Whatever you have to do, don't stop looking for ways to get socially involved.

Take Control

Everyone has a different approach to getting older, but the more optimistic you can be, the better. As you age, deciding to take control of things you put off in earlier years, like fitness and a healthy diet, will keep you on the right path. Letting go of bad habits and choosing to remain social with others can actually make you feel much younger rather than older. When you feel that positive about your life, there's no telling what you'll be able to accomplish.