5 Tips for Living Longer and Feeling Healthier
Short of discovering the legendary fountain of youth, there is no clear shortcut to living longer and feeling healthier. While creating a healthy, happy life requires some effort, the good news is that there are clear steps people can employ in their day to day lives that result in a healthy lifestyle. The following five tips for living longer and feeling healthier are steps that people of any age can incorporate into their lives. You’re never too young or too old to start living healthy! Enjoy Moderate Exercise Exercise is important for maintaining a long and healthy life, but not all forms of exercise are best for the human body. If you push it too hard you can actually end up doing more damage to your body than if you didn’t exercise at all. The key, as always, is finding that sweet spot between too little exercise and too much. Numerous studies and reports, such as the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommend 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate exercise. This can be everything from walking to yoga to swimming or even playing with your pets. The best part about this advice is that moderate exercise is suitable for every age group and includes a variety of activities that can be enjoyed. Enjoying the types of physical activities you are using to achieve your exercise requirements is also important. When exercising starts to feel like a chore, it can cause stress levels to rise. Moderate exercise is an important component of living longer and feeling healthier, but try to combine it with activities that bring you joy, such as dancing, walking your dog, or even gardening. Eat a Balanced Diet One of the biggest stressors on our health is the fad of “yo-yo” diets. These diets cause rapid weight loss, usually by eliminating an entire food group, but are difficult to maintain, so people end up gaining back the weight that they worked so hard to lose. Eating a balanced diet will give your body all of the nutrients it needs in order to function at optimal wellness. A balanced diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables, a variety of whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein, as well as drinking lots of water. When it comes to your diet, variety truly is the spice of life. Of course, there are certain types of food that should be avoided or eaten in moderation. This list includes highly processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, soda pop, and simple carbohydrates (such as white rice and white bread). Essentially, go easy on the junk food. Practice Mindfulness Studies are emerging that show a link between practicing mindfulness and having a longer lifespan. The findings suggest that mindfulness reduces stress and boosts our feel good hormones. Practicing mindfulness also helps people make better life choices for themselves and for the people around them, which decreases the stress caused by making choices that aren’t good for us. What is mindfulness exactly? This practice is a mental state of being present in the moment and aware of one’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings and how they affect ourselves and others. Qualities associated with mindfulness include compassion, empathy, and gratitude. There are many easy ways to practice mindfulness in our day to day lives. Taking a peaceful stroll, meditation, yoga, writing in a journal, and volunteering are all ways to cultivate this practice. Being in nature is also a good way to practice mindfulness and to enjoy being present in the natural world. Exercise Your Brain Power A CDC report from the National Center for Health Statistics in 2012 found a direct correlation between education and living a longer life. Knowledge is power; people who live a life full of learning tend to make better decisions, enjoy fulfilling careers, and can adequately plan for the future. Studies show that exercising your brain power also helps to slow and even prevent memory loss and mental health problems. Puzzles, word games, and games such as chess that employ strategic thinking skills are all ways to exercise the cognitive function of the brain. This improves the brain’s ability to withstand neurological challenges due to stress and aging. Take Time to Socialize Humans are a social species and positive interaction with others is critical to leading longer, healthier lives. Having a strong social network provides much needed support when the going gets tough, which reduces and prevents stress, which in turn keeps us healthy. Socializing with friends and family also boosts our endorphins, which makes us feel happier and healthier. One of the reasons home caregiving is the preferred form of caregiving among seniors and people with disabilities is due to its strong social component. Home caregiving provides an intimate, personal, and social environment that provides for a healthier lifestyle. Some studies suggest that positive socialization improves our immune systems, which is especially important to maintain as we grow older and are more susceptible to illness and diseases. Other Tips for Living Longer and Feeling Healthier There are many other tips for living longer and feeling healthier. Some of these tips include getting sufficient sleep, avoiding damaging toxins from activities such as smoking and consuming alcohol, and avoiding sitting for long periods of time. One of the roles of home caregiving is putting together a care plan that will best suit your unique individual needs for living a longer, healthier, and happier life. If you’re considering home caregiving as an option for yourself or a loved one, please reach out and let us discuss options for care.