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Top 10 Tips for Living a Longer, Healthier Life
Everyone hopes to live a long, healthy life, but not everyone is fortunate enough to do so. Some of the general rules are fairly simple: don’t cross the street in front of a truck, don’t do the Macarena on an icy slope, and don’t argue with your mother in law. Other ones you have probably heard all your life but never really paid much attention to them. Still others you may never have heard of before. So if you plan on living long enough to be a problem to your children or even to your grandchildren, keep reading on how you can improve your chances of doing exactly that.
1. Don’t smoke
Yep, this is one you’ve heard before, but if you are still smoking, it really bears repeating. Smoking causes more disease and health issues than perhaps any other factor. We won’t bother going into all the cancers and other health problems it causes, because if you are a smoker, you’ve heard it all before. But think for just one minute, do you really want to spend your “golden years” in a nursing home, holding onto an oxygen bottle and forced to use a wheelchair because of lung cancer or emphysema? Or would you rather enjoy your time on a tropical beach somewhere? The choice is entirely yours.
2. Wear a Seatbelt
This is not necessarily something we think about every time we buckle up, but the facts show that, especially for women under 35, young people are more likely to die in a car accident than from any other cause. So no matter how much exercise you get, no matter how healthy you eat, if you don’t hook up that seat belt, it might all be for nothing.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Most Americans are habitually sleep deprived. When you are sleepy, it reduces your concentration and often causes car accidents. A lack of sleep also causes a wide range of health issues including messing with your hormones, and an increase in your risk of developing obesity and diabetes. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. Adjust your schedule and do what you have to, but be sure you get your Z’s.
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4. Eat Healthy
Probably one of the most basic health rules for longevity is eating a healthy diet. Americans live on processed foods, fast foods, and junk foods, none of which provide your body with the nutrition it needs. Eating a typical American diet increases your insulin levels, which accelerates the aging process as well as increasing your risk of chronic disease and obesity. Eat a diet that is plant based, which means mostly organic veggies, nuts, whole grains, from local sources.
It’s been proven in study after study that those who live sedentary lifestyles have much shorter lifespans. In fact one study alone showed that reducing the time you sit every day to 3 hours can increase your life expectancy by 2 years, and limiting your television time to less than 2 hours per day will add another 1.4 years. It is difficult to follow these rules when most people have jobs that involve computers; however, studies show that just getting up from your desk every 30 to 60 minutes and walking or stretching for a few minutes is enough give you some additional health benefits and possibly even add to your longevity. Get regular exercise, even walking is sufficient, at least 30 minutes 3 times per week, and will improve your health as well as lengthen your life.
6. Stop Drinking Sodas
This is part of eating a good diet, but since many people simply can’t seem to stop their soda habit, this calls for a special mention. Replace those sugary, chemical filled, and GMO syrup filled sodas with plenty of clean, clear water. Don’t even think about diet sodas, as they are worse than regular sodas and can cause mood swings, birth defects, brain damage, and cancer. Green juice and fresh, organic fruit juice are good, but what your body really needs is plenty of fresh, clean, good old fashioned water.
7. A Healthy Mind Matters
When your mind is in a good place, you will make smart and healthy decisions such as using seat belts, eating right, getting exercise, going to bed at a reasonable hour. Learn to reduce stress in your life, or learn ways to manage it such as by practicing yoga or meditation. Make time for fun. That old saying about all work and no play will not only make you dull, but it makes you hard and bitter as well. Try to spend at least a few minutes every day doing something that makes you happy, even if it’s just reading in bed for 15 minutes before you go to sleep. Get rid of toxic and/or negative people in your life and practice looking on the bright side of things.
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8. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption is damaging to your liver, can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, car accidents, and common accidents such as falling down and hitting your head. One glass of wine with dinner is fine, three is too much. You should also avoid street drugs such as cocaine, heroin or pain pills that have not been prescribed for you for obvious reasons. Street drugs are often diluted with all sorts of dangerous substances. Also, in order to obtain drugs, many people end up putting themselves in dangerous situations. If you need help getting off of them, talk to your doctor.
9. Practice Safe Living Habits
Common accidents in the home cause thousands of injuries, many of them permanent, each year. The most common accidents are fires, falls, and drowning. Install smoke detectors (carbon dioxide detectors are a great idea too) and check the batteries twice per year. Secure throw rugs and never walk around in the dark, no matter how long you have lived somewhere or how well you think you know your own home. If you don’t know how, learn to swim. The Red Cross conducts classes in almost all public swimming pools, or ask if your local community college or gym has classes. Even infants just months old can learn to turn over and float on their back, saving their lives. Be certain everyone in your family knows how to swim, even if you don’t have a pool at your home.
10. Protect Yourself
Don’t put yourself in unsafe situations, and seek protection from people who are violent or threaten your life. Don’t allow yourself to believe the old “it won’t happen again” line. People who are violent once will be violent again; it’s only a matter of time. Use that time to free yourself from their world.