There is more to longevity than genetics. It has been said that genetics loads the gun but lifestyle pulls the trigger. Our passion at LiveYoung is helping our patients live long, healthy, and full lives. This week’s blog is dedicated to proven healthy habits you can adopt, if you haven’t already, to prolong your life expectancy and to feel your very best. Here are the 5 most effective lifestyle choices backed by over 3 decades of research as published last month in the journal Circulation.
1. Don't Smoke – need we say more? By now, the many ill effects and diseases, including premature death, caused by tobacco use and smoking are widely known around the world. If you do smoke, cutting back or quitting significantly improves your odds of living a longer, healthier life. There are many effective options to support you through the process.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet – there are plenty of opinions about how to do this well, and it is important to find nutrition patterns that work best for you and your lifestyle. Our favourite food tips include eating fresh, brightly-coloured fruits and veggies every day to ensure you are getting adequate vitamins and antioxidants; shop for fresh ingredients and avoid processed foods; cut down on salt, unhealthy fats (especially trans fats), and sugars; and eat plenty of lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains in moderation.
3. Get Regular Exercise – adequate exercise for most people equates to a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Having trouble getting started? Try walking as the first step to a new exercise regime; you will be amazed at how energized you feel afterward and how much a walk outdoors can elevate your mood.
4. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight – having extra weight puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, amongst other diseases which can take years off your life. It is also hard on your joints. In the Circulation study, it is recommended to try to maintain a BMI of less than 25.
5. Regulate Alcohol Consumption – despite what you hear about the potential benefits of red wine, moderation of alcohol consumption is very important in terms of preventing cancer and other negative health events, such as heart disease and stroke. American recommendations are up to one standard drink (14 grams of alcohol – 350ml of 5% beer, 150ml of wine, or 44ml of spirits) per day for women, and up to two standard drinks per day for men.
Prevention is Key
When considering our future years and how we want to live them to the best of our ability, prevention should be at the forefront of our minds rather than management of disease solely with prescription medications and procedures such as angioplasty.
And Most Importantly…
Arguably the very most important thing we can do for ourselves is to be cognizant of our mental attitude and spiritual disposition. Without a healthy mindset, it is difficult, if not impossible, to make healthy lifestyle changes. Some of our favourite tips: exercise your brain, maintain social connections, get adequate sleep, meditate and practice mindfulness, and laugh!