A significant factor in our longevity is determined by our genes, so it’s important to pick the right parents. Choose parents who have lived a long, healthy life and your chances of living a long, healthy life are significantly enhanced.
If you are unable to choose your parents, you might focus on what you can choose. How you live, your lifestyle choices, also significantly contribute to how long you will live and how healthy you will be as you age. By adopting healthy habits early in life, you not only increase the likelihood of living longer, but greatly increase the vitality of your life as you age.
Consider the following seven steps for acquiring healthy lifestyle behaviors:
1. Exercise: Exercise at any age is good for the health, but especially important as we age. Physical exercise can actually slow down the process of aging by helping us maintain muscle and bone strength. In addition to feeling better and actually increasing our life expectancy, regular exercise helps preserve mental sharpness and can help combat depression later in life.
2. Nutrition: Balanced diet is another key factor in promoting health and longevity. By adopting a low fat diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, we can reduce the risks of potentially life-shortening diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
3. Drugs: Avoid harmful drugs such as tobacco or excessive use of alcohol. Mind-altering drugs create many risks to the body both emotionally and physically and therefore must not be used if you are serious about living a long and healthy life.
4. Weight: Obesity is a major risk factor for several life-threatening and life-shortening diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Carrying extra weight curtails your daily activities and can rob you of several opportunities for pleasurable activities.
5. Stress: Too much stress can impact your physical health and emotional well-being. Prolonged stress can even impair your immune system, thus making you more susceptible to a number of chronic diseases.
6. Mind: Like your body, your mind needs exercise. By participating in intellectually stimulating activities, we can help preserve our own mental sharpness. Reading, writing, playing games such as chess and bridge or working crossword puzzles are only few way to keep our brain strong.
7. Involvement: Staying involved in meaningful activities adds vitality to life. This vitality can keep us happier and help prevent depression. There are a thousand and one ways to stay involved at your church, in a club, or volunteering services at a hospital or nursing home.
Seven steps to a healthier, longer life — it’s well worth the effort.