Interesting fact: Did you know that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women born in 2009 can expect to live to almost 84 while men can expect to live to 79 years old?
Though this may sound like a long time, research show that for most people, those final years are often plagued with serious illnesses, diseases or disability. The main reason why we’re still living longer despite these health setbacks are all thanks to the medical and technological advances that keep our hearts beating for longer. Our life expectancy isn’t increasing because we are getting healthier; it is due to medical intervention.
So although we may be living longer, we are not living our life well. Our health and lifestyle choices (ie. healthy eating, working hours, physical activity, etc) are progressively getting worse and new research shows that babies born today will experience an extra year of serious illness or disability compared to those born 30 years ago. This means that many of us will end up tortuously enduring many different types of illnesses, popping pills, undergoing surgery, taking medications, etc, instead of enjoying and living our years to the fullest.
So what is the secret to living longer, healthier and happier? It is actually quite simple really and the only real problem is your commitment to living a healthier lifestyle.
So if you’re ready to start living longer, healthier and happier, here are 10 sure-fire ways to ensure that you will feel great and healthy… for life.
HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND HEALTHIER
1. Count your alcohol intake: Alcohol is not only full of kilojoules, it can also increase your risk of developing chronic diseases and excessive drinking is just plain bad for your body. At minimum, have at least one or two alcohol-free days each week and no more than 2 standard drinks each day. If you can’t bring yourself to put down that Smirnoff or beer bottle, try to swap it for a healthier glass of red wine. Red wine is rich in antioxidants and is actually good for your heart and kidneys. But don’t go skulling a whole bottle of wine though, moderation is the key.
2. Quit smoking: Smoking affects your cholesterol levels, damages the lining of your blood vessels, hardens your arteries, stains your teeth, causes bad breath, decreases fertility in women, causes lung cancer, lung diseases, dry skin, premature wrinkling and raises your risk of having cervical cancer and a heart attack. Enough said?
3. Get regular checkups: Getting regular checkups will decrease the likelihood of having any nasty health-related surprises. It also enables your doctor to identify any serious illness/diseases at their earlier stages which will increase their chances of curing it. As a minimum (ie. if you’re generally healthy and well), get a blood test every 2 years or so to ensure your cholesterol and blood sugars are at normal levels.
4. Eat healthily: Think about this analogy: If you have a car and you use crap petrol, will your car continue to run smoothly and well for a long period of time? No. Well, it is exactly the same thing with your body; eat junk food and the results will be reflected on your body as a whole. Get into a healthy eating habit/routine and feel the difference!
5. Have regular exercise: Staying active has physical, stress relieving, social and mental benefits which all contribute in helping to improve the quality and quantity of your life. If you’re too busy to go to the gym, try to incorporate small physical activities in your daily life. Leave your home an extra 15 mins earlier and walk to a bus stop that is 2 streets further down, or park your car slightly further away so you have to walk a little bit more to your destination. Little small changes can help and may lead to bigger and bigger ones!
6. Adjust your attitude: Our thoughts affect our health and a lazy mind translates into a lazy body. Hence, start thinking positively about yourself and the people around you. This mental activity will naturally translate into your actions in the way you act and react with yourself and those around you. Having a positive mind is a crucial key to living a happier life as you will find yourself more willing to take on challenges and enjoy the ups and downs of life. Read inspiring and positive quotes to help with your self-motivation and maybe stick your favorite quote in a place where you can always read and remind yourself about it. This can help you overcome any physical or mental challenges and enjoy whatever life throws at you.
7. Sleep well: Your body needs time to repair itself, and it does most of it while you’re sleeping. So do your body and mind a favor and take regular breaks to ensure that you get enough quality sleep at night. Try to stay away from drinking any drink that has caffeine in it (ie. coke, coffee, Redbull) after 7pm to help get your body into a regular sleeping pattern. In saying that, it is also not good to oversleep as your body and mind can wake up feeling even more lethargic. 7-9 hours of sleep is the optimum amount of sleep time for most people, so set the alarm, grab your pillow and hit the sack!
8. Love yourself and love others: Human beings are social creatures and it is thus important that we continue to communicate, connect, and deal with others. Stay close to your friends and family and make a serious effort to keep in touch with them. Love your friends and family, love yourself and love what you’re doing with your life. Be a giver, not a taker and feel the love and appreciation from others around you. Love really can make the world go round!
9. Live a balanced lifestyle: I know it is hard to try and have time to do everything that is important to you, but it is important that you do try. The best thing to achieving this is to get organized and work out what your goals are and what you want to achieve.
10. Know yourself and take corrective action: If you know that you’re a workaholic, get a diary, find a hobby and make time for yourself and for you to enjoy yourself. If you don’t exactly have the best diet in the world, try to start eating healthily and take vitamins and supplements. If you are struggling with your weight, look for healthy recipes and natural tips to assist and support you in your weight loss… and make sure you follow them. Critically evaluating yourself is important and crucial in ensuring that any lifestyle change is a true lifestyle change that will last your lifetime. Understand your weakness and don’t be afraid to change and correct them. You will feel much more fulfilled when you do succeed and you’ll also become a better and healthier person with each passing day.
So why spend a large proportion of your life being sick? The younger you start, the longer you have to enjoy your healthy lifestyle and the less likely you will be suffering from health issues especially at an older age. These 10 tips and healthy habits are very doable and simple, and they can make a huge difference to your health. So make the commitment today and start being healthy, living longer and enjoying life!
Till next time!