Small lifestyle changes, such as staying more connected to family and friends, getting more sleep and preparing foods differently, can go a long way in slowing aging and the onset of related diseases, researchers say. “The single most important thing, in my opinion, is exercise,” said Dr. James S. Goodwin, director of UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging. Dr. Robert Hirschfeld also advocates staying active — both physically and cognitively — to slow the effects of aging. That means turning off the TV and getting out there.