Aging happens to all of us, but it doesn’t have to be a factor in your body’s ability to perform. There are things that you can start doing now that can pay off later as you begin to age. With the right combination of diet, exercise, and setting goals, you can maintain a younger, better performing body well into your golden years. In a recent interview with triathlon favorite Debi Bernardes, US News & World Report asked what secrets the athlete had for staying young and maintaining a healthy physique. Bernardes is 50 years old and has finished fifth among amateur females in a recent Washington, D.C. competition. Her interview showcased these three factors that can make all the difference:

Diet

Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your lifetime will be crucial, but those who are aging should be mindful of their protein intake and how it can assist in weight control. The best thing to do is to work with a nutritionist to design a plan that can work for your body’s unique needs.

Conditioning

General strength training and conditioning will be key in maintaining strength and muscle tone as you age. Older adults, in particular, have a tendency to forget various muscle groups and compensate with others, making their technique and stride change dramatically. Try to work all of your muscle groups for better, longer lasting results.

Set Goals

To get the most out of each and every workout, set long and short-term goals for yourself. Give yourself a reason to go to the gym, make time for strength training, or for choosing a healthier diet. By keeping focused on your goals, you’ll be less likely to waste time, fall into old habits, or neglect your health as you age.