How we age is a mix of genetics, environment and lifestyle. Although you might think genetics is the biggest factor, it only accounts for a small part. That means we have some control over many factors affecting how we will age.

I’ll bet you know someone who just doesn’t seem to age. The person may be 60 but look and act like not a day over 35. On the other hand, you might know someone who is frequently mistaken as much older than his or her true age.

How we age is a mix of genetics, environment and lifestyle. Although you might think genetics is the biggest factor, it only accounts for a small part. That means we have some control over many factors affecting how we will age.

Diet is the most powerful intervention to delay aging and age-related disease. As we age, our metabolism slows down, we tend to be less active, and our gut function is less efficient. All this translates to a need for fewer calories. Good advice is to eat to be satisfied but not full. A diet rich in plants can help prevent some cancers and other diseases. Water is especially important to keep skin hydrated and compensate for less efficient kidneys.

Moving a little more on a daily basis will prove more beneficial as we age than exercising a lot sporadically. Lead a physical life by taking the stairs, getting a daily walk and doing yard work. This will help keep your muscles strong and maintain your mobility. Resistance training, such as light weight lifting or doing squats or pushups, is effective in reducing muscle lost due to aging. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity that increases your heart rate daily, and add in some resistance exercises.

Few things age us more quickly than stress, especially chronic stress. Meditation is one technique that helps reduce stress and slow the aging process. Take charge of your thoughts — don’t focus on failures or negatives. Find a purpose for your life, and set your goals in order of importance. Keeping a positive attitude along with lots of smiles and laughter will help keep you young.

It’s important to manage any chronic diseases or illnesses that you may have. If you are diabetic, keep your blood sugars in a good range with diet, exercise and medications. The same goes for your blood pressure. Both diabetes and high blood pressure are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke, plus other complications.

Smoking not only can shorten your life by increasing your risk of heart disease and cancer, but it also accelerates aging, especially of the skin. Cigarettes, even e-cigs, contain toxins that damage our bodies inside and out. You’ll have fewer facial wrinkles, too, if you have not made a habit of sucking on a cigarette.

Sleep is an important recovery tool, especially as we age. The brain needs some down time to embed to memory the things it learns. The skin can show accelerated signs of aging when you don’t allow the body rest to restore and repair cells. Lack of sleep has also been linked to higher weights, higher blood pressures and depression. Try to get six to eight hours of quality sleep. You should wake up feeling rested and ready for the day.

As we age, we start to lose many of our family members and friends. This can lead to isolation and loneliness, which can increase stress and depression, shortening our life. It’s important to stay social. If you don’t have a network of friends any longer, try volunteering or enrolling in some fun classes to meet new people. Being around others will reduce your stress, improve your mood and boost your immunity.

Use your brain or lose it! Our brain processing capabilities slow down with age, so it’s important to make your brain work every day to keep it in tip-top shape. Learn a new language or skill, play games that require thinking, do mental math — anything that keeps the old noggin thinking. Exercise is important, not just for our muscles but also to keep the blood flowing to our brains.

Don’t worry about the number on your next birthday. Remember that you are only as old as you feel, and there are several things you can do to feel younger.