Yet, as we live longer, we should also take care to make those golden years as healthy as possible, so we can continue to enjoy the things we love. A Harvard study reviewed the data from 120,000 people over 34 years, and found that five simple habits could contribute to a longer life. This CNBC article has the summary.
1. Try to eat unprocessed food
According to the researchers, a healthy diet is one built around a variety minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and natural sources of protein like fish and beans. While fast food is an easy meal, and useful in a pinch, try not to make it a habit.
2. Move your body daily
Exercise is important for a long, healthy life. Any exercise is better than none, as even small amounts of exercise could prolong one’s life by 4.5 years. This is particularly important for those who have desk jobs and tend to be sedentary throughout the day. Try to see what small swaps you can make, such as using a standing desk or doing walking meetings. A personal trainer or new physical therapies such as Dance Movement Therapy, or Tai Chi could provide the motivation you need.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
According to the Harvard study, “weight control significantly reduced the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular risk factors and breast cancer.” It is important to remember that a person’s health is not just determined by the numbers on the scale, so a good way to check this is to speak to your doctor. They can also arrange blood tests to ensure your vitamin and cholesterol levels are within normal ranges.
4. Limit your alcohol intake
Many people see drinking as a great way to relax after a long day, and it can be hard to escape social drinking. However, too much alcohol is not good for our health and can contribute to weight gain, and increase a person’s risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and throat cancer.
5. Quit smoking, or don’t smoke
It has become increasingly clear that smoking is detrimental to our health. Smoking is also very addictive, and many people find it hard to quit even though they have the best intentions. If this is you, know that you are not alone – ex-President Barack Obama was someone who managed to kick the habit while he was in office.
Trying to incorporate these habits into your lifestyle will serve you well in the future – the study found that those with the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer.
Your doctor will be well placed to advise you on how to live a healthier lifestyle. If you would like to dive deeper into adjusting your diet or exercise, nutritionists, dietitians, or movement therapies could provide the support you need. Click on the image below to book a free consultation call with our qualified complementary health practitioners.
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