Have you adopted these 9 healthy habits to give you the best chance at a long life?
A recent study found that four bad behaviours can hustle you into an early grave, and, in effect, age you by as many as 12 years. Have a look at the list below and have a think about whether you’ll be around for your friends and family*.
1. Eat fruits and vegetables
Getting fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day can eat away at your health. Nutritional powerhouses filled with fibre and vitamins, fruits and veggies can lower your risk of heart disease by 76% and may even play a role in decreasing your risk of breast cancer.
As an added bonus, the inflammation-fighting and circulation-boosting powers of the antioxidants in fruits and veggies can banish wrinkles. Eat them, if not for your health, then for vanity.
2. Don’t over-eat
And speaking of eating, if you want to live to 100, leaving a little bit of food on your plate may be a good idea. Author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity around the world, found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they are feeling only about 80% full.
3. Focus on Fitness
Daily exercise may be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. A 2008 study found that regular high-intensity exercise (such as running) can add up to four years to your life, which isn’t surprising given the positive effects working out has on your heart, mind, and metabolism.
Even moderate exercise – a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example – can lower your risk of heart problems.
4. Don’t smoke
Quitting smoking is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your health—and your life span. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quit smoking by age 35 add roughly six to eight years to their lives.
It’s never too late to kick the habit. Quitting can slow disease and increase survival odds even in smokers who have already caused significant damage to their lungs, like those with early lung cancer or COPD.
5. Get busy
Having satisfying sex two to three times per week can add as many as three years to your life. Getting busy can burn an impressive amount of calories—sometimes as much as running for 30 minutes. (Which would you rather do?)
Regular sex may also lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, boost your immunity, and protect your heart.
6. Turn off the TV or your Phone
Too much time in front of the telly can take a serious toll on your health. In fact, a 2010 study found that people who watched four or more hours a day were 46% more likely to die from any cause than people who watched less than two hours a day.
Even cutting back a little can help; each additional hour you watch increases your overall risk of dying by 11% and dying from heart disease by 18%.
7. Stay out of the sun
Avoiding too much sun can head off skin cancer, and it can also keep you looking young by preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin.
It’s never too early – or too late – to add sunscreen to your daily skin-care regimen (a natural brand is best). And don’t focus only on your face. Sun damage spots and splotches on your chest and neck will also make you appear older.
Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, but do make sure you get some rays early in the morning or later in the afternoon, since the Vitamin D will help your immune system. It’s all about being sensible.
8. Reach out
Research shows that you’re at greater risk of heart disease without a strong network of friends and family. Loneliness can cause inflammation, and in otherwise healthy people it can be just as dangerous as having high cholesterol or even smoking.
Loneliness seems to pose the greatest risk for elderly people, who are also prone to depression.
9. Drink in moderation
Women who have two or more drinks a day and men who have three or more may run into detrimental effects ranging from weight gain to relationship problems.
If you’re a local, we recommend walking or cycling to our markets and buying lots of local, fresh fruit & veggies, eggs and other amazing produce.