Think you’ve got nothing to look forward to as you get older? Think again! According to getting older might actually improve your health in a number of unexpected ways.

As the years fly by, it’s easy to focus on the less-than-desirable aspects of your aging physique. But did you know that, in some ways, your body actually gets better with age? In fact, doctors and researchers are discovering that the natural aging process has certifiable health benefits. The changes aren’t dramatic and they certainly won’t turn back the hands of time, but even small physiological improvements can make a big difference when it comes to feeling younger and enjoying life more.

Here’s one of real benefits you can look forward to as you grow older.

A Youthful Heart

Surprisingly, the heart hardly ages at all and actually can strengthen — as long as you keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. “Although there is some narrowing of arteries with aging, the pumping ability of the heart stays strong throughout life in healthy people,” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and medical director of New York University’s Women’s Heart Program. Genes do play a part in the way your heart ages, but the healthier your lifestyle, the more likely your heart will stay strong well into your 80s and 90s. “Exercise, diet, and not smoking are more important than genetics in maintaining the health of the heart after age 60,” Goldberg said.

Healthy Advice Artery wellness is crucial for preventing a heart attack. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked annually, eat a low-fat diet, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly to help age-proof your arteries.