Since childhood, we hear about how we should lead a healthy lifestyle in order to live a longer, healthier life. We all yearn to age well and stay fit until our last breaths. But how many of us actually strive to live a healthy life? Very few!
Here’s a scientific evidence to charge up your motivation a little: Back in 2009, a study of 20,000 British people was published in the British Medical Journal. It concluded that if you engage in the following four activities, you can cut your risk of having a stroke by half! The activities include being active for 30 minutes a day, eating daily five servings of different fruits and vegetables, and avoiding cigarettes and excess alcohol.
It concluded that if you engage in the following four activities, you can cut your risk of having a stroke by half! The activities include being active for 30 minutes a day, eating daily five servings of different fruits and vegetables, and avoiding cigarettes and excess alcohol.
Research conducted on Centenarians has shown that they share certain traits in how they eat, deal with stress and move about. Surely, we can take advantage of this information and improve our own aging process!
Here are the 11 habits you can adopt if you wish to aim for the three digit number!
1. Floss daily
Thomas Perls, who studies the century-plus set at Boston University School of Medicine says, “I really do think people should floss twice a day to get the biggest life expectancy benefits.” Why? Because flossing helps keep your arteries healthy. New York University conducted a research in 2008 which concluded how flossing reduces the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is thought to enter the bloodstream and elicit inflammation in the arteries, which is a major heart disease factor.
2. Don’t retire
Basically, when you stop working all of a sudden, it onsets a series of chronic diseases. You shouldn’t ever stop working! Find yourself something to do in your leisure time. When they say don’t retire, they mean don’t retire from being active. Take the Chianti region of Italy, which has a very high percentage of centenarians, as an example. When people there retire from their jobs, they start working on little farms.
3. Sleep at least 6 hours a day
The following statements by Ferrucci summarize this healthy habit quite beautifully.
“Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells. We’ve calculated that the minimum amount of sleep that older people need to get those healing REM phases is about six hours.”
4. Get that body moving
It doesn’t go as a surprise that exercising is the key to aging well! Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago says, “Exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists. It’s like the oil and lube job for your car. You don’t have to do it, but your car will definitely run better.”
Nobody’s asking you to work that body more than it can handle. Exercising 30 minutes a day is more than enough!
5. Opt for a fiber-rich cereal for breakfast
Ferrucci and his co-researchers recently conducted a study which established that consumption of whole grains, especially in the morning, helped older people maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. People who follow this habit tend to have reduced risk of diabetes, which is a precursor of aging.
6. Follow the lifestyle of the Seventh Day Adventist
You know how they maintain their bodies and take good care of it because they believe it is on loan from God? How they don’t take excess alcohol or sweets and abstain from smoking cigarettes? That is the kind of lifestyle we all need to adopt! The kind where fruits, vegetables and all healthy food is what makes our meals. Also, make your family and community an integral part of yourself.
7. Stay in the loop
Of course, staying socially active is just as important is any other healthy habit. It helps combat depression, which has been recognized as a cause for premature death. Furthermore, Perls gives another logical reasoning as to why we should stay connected: “They’ll tell you if they think your memory is going or if you seem more withdrawn and they might push you to see a doctor before you recognize that you need to see one yourself.”
8. Be less neurotic
We all stress about something or the other. That’s not the problem. How we deal with that stress is the actual problem. We shouldn’t dwell on things and find a healthy way to divert those feelings. Perls further adds, “We have a new study coming out that shows that centenarians tend not to internalize things or dwell on their troubles.”
9. Stick to a routine
Olshansky has reported that centenarians follow a very strict routine throughout their lives; sleeping at the same hour every day and waking up at the same time, having the same kind of meal and doing similar activities every day. It helps keep the equilibrium of the body and if the equilibrium goes out of balance, the human body becomes susceptible to circulating flu viruses or bacterial infections.
10. Go for whole foods instead of supplements
Studies have provided strong evidence in support of presence of certain nutrients, namely selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, in the blood stream. They help the aging process and slow down cognitive decline. However, experts suggest you take these nutrients through whole foods rather than supplements. Ferrucci points out, “There are more than 200 different carotenoids and 200 different flavonoids in a single tomato and these chemicals can all have complex interactions that foster health beyond the single nutrients we know about like lycopene or vitamin C.”
11. Be conscientious
What does it mean, you ask? It suggests you become prudent, persistent and well organized. In The Longevity Project, coauthored by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, a study of 1500 children is reported and it advocates how conscientiousness helps live a longer, healthier life. These children were under a study of eight years. Friedman concluded how children who were prudent and dependable lived the longest. They also had a happier, more satisfactory life.
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