5 Steps To Living A Longer, Healthier Life

As you age in life, your body gets weaker and weaker, making you prone to serious, life-threatening diseases. This is exacerbated if you are practicing a lifestyle that basically brings short-term pleasures, but also longer-term pains, the one that gives you a free ticket to the hospital.

Conversely, better health, dietary, fitness and lifestyle choices and changes not only result in a stronger, leaner body even at an old age, but also in lessened, reduced risks of getting adverse health conditions, contributing to enhanced longevity, and studies proved just that.

One study of over 100,000 men and women made by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that five low-risk lifestyle changes are essential in increasing life expectancy. The habits were: 

  1. A healthy diet, one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids
  2. A healthy physical activity level, measured as at least 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous activity such as brisk walking
  3. A healthy body weight, defined as having a normal body mass index, which is between 18.5 and 24.9
  4. Not smoking
  5. Low-risk alcohol intake -- between 5 and 30 grams daily for men, while between 5 and 15 grams daily for women

Even practicing at least one of these habits increased life expectancy, and if all five are practiced regularly at the age of 50, over 10 years of extra life was added: 14 years for women, 12 for men.

Using the same data as the one used in the previous study, the authors published a new study, this time to know if these added years are healthy years, free of medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, which are usually associated with illnesses, hospitalizations and even nursing home care. It found that practicing at least four of the five healthy habits gave people significant protection from any of the above-mentioned diseases at an average of about a decade.

Whether or not you are near your 50s, take the following steps that will not only lessen your chances of getting hospitalized, but also add extra years for a longer, healthier life:

Eat Plants 

Eat a mostly plant-based diet most of the time. This means you should increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Avoid as much as possible eating fast or fried food, sweet and sugary drinks, and even red and processed meats, which include cold cut meats.

Move Your Body As Much As Possible 

As much as you can, try moving your body every day. You can try walking for 30 minutes --15 in the morning, 15 in the evening, but even a minimum of 10 minutes of weekly movement counts when practicing an active lifestyle.

Do What You Can To Lose Weight 

Do the best that you can to shed unwanted fat in order to get a healthier weight. Even just a little bit of weight loss counts as a positive health result, especially when lowering your risk of diabetes.

Quit Smoking

Quit smoking (or vaping) because there is no healthy amount of smoking. It is not too late for you to stop for good in order to keep your lungs intact and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you are a habitual alcohol drinker, please keep in mind the recommended daily limits: a maximum of one drink for women and two drinks for men.

Exercise Women gathered for a morning aerobic exercise. Pixabay

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