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Whether you’re pursuing a demanding career, From living a life of harmony to eating better to building friendships, achieving the feats we most desire requires a healthy foundation.
Living life to the fullest begins with paying attention to the body and mind.
“The long-term effects of good and bad health habits are cumulative. You just can’t get rid of the past.” says Dr. William Roberts, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, via email.
Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analystindicates that a good starting point is to get enough physical activity and see your doctor regularly.
“There is a lot of evidence of what we can do proactively to improve our longevity and quality,” said Mr. Wenemergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken School of Public Health.
Here are some habits worth implementing to give yourself the best chance of living a longer, happier life.
Young people tend to have fewer chronic diseases than older people, but prevention is key, Wen says.
” If you test positive for prediabetes, for example, there are steps you can take to prevent it from turning into diabetes. »
Annual checkups also let you and your doctor get to know you better., added. “The best time to see your doctor is not when you already have symptoms and need help, it’s regularly to build and establish that relationship so your doctor can get a referral for your health. »
regular physical activity
Get enough physical activity it can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke, Wen said.
“Much research shows that regular aerobic exercise not only leads to a longer life, but also maintains cognitive functions longer”said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of Atria New York City and assistant professor of clinical medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
The World Health Organization has recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, while pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise and strength training per week.
A healthy BMI
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat that helps assess a person’s weight class and potential risk for health problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USA
Maintaining a healthy BMI can extend life by more than a decade, according to a 2018 study, and has been linked to a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can help you achieve this goal.
Eating more plant-based foods is an excellent source of antioxidantssaid Mr. Goldberg. “Oxidation is a sign of stress on our system and can cause changes in plaque buildup in the arteries, etc,” he said. “And this oxidation is also associated with aging.”
According to a study published in February in the journal PLOS Medicine, you could extend your life by eating less red and processed meats and more fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts. The potential benefits are particularly significant if you start young: Women who started optimal nutrition in their twenties could increase their longevity by just over 10 years, while men who start at the same age could add 13 years to their life.
At mealtime, at least half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, Goldberg said. Plus, “it’s not just about what’s in the food, it’s about how it’s prepared,” she added. “So baking and roasting is better than frying.
Pay attention to mental wellness
Mental health is often ” such a neglected part of our overall health, but it actually contributes a great deal to overall health and well-being.”Mrs. Wen said.
The past few years have been marked by stress and anxiety, which can affect blood pressure, sleep, food choices, alcohol use or attempts to quit smoking, Goldberg said.
LExperts say that just 15 minutes of mental hygiene can make life easier. Try to take deep breaths when you wake up, be present with your morning coffee instead of being distracted, take a walk, write a journal, and take a break from screens.
The benefits of these mindfulness practices come from reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone linked to health complications. The ability to better regulate emotions, which can be achieved through meditation, has been associated with health resilience in old age.
get enough sleep
People who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have higher levels of stress hormonesblood sugar and blood pressure, says Goldberg.
You can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by exercising regularly and practicing good sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool at night, and use it only for sleep and sex.
drink less alcohol
“For a long time, people have associated alcohol with a healthier heart”, explains Mr. Goldberg. But “Excessive alcohol consumption can actually be a direct toxin to the heart muscle and lead to heart failure. It also increases blood sugar levels and leads to weight gain. »
According to a 2020 study, avoiding excess alcohol can add at least several years to your life by reducing your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
“Smoking is an important risk factor that increases the probability of several types of cancer, not only lung cancer, but also breast cancer”, Wen explained. She “It also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions that shorten people’s lives.”
If you smoke regularly, it’s not too late to quit and prolong your life.Ms. Wen added.
build strong relationships
According to experts, having close and positive relationships adds happiness and comfort to our lives and reduces stress. Studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and the community have fewer health problems, live longer, and experience less depression and cognitive decline later in life, according to Harvard Health.
If practicing all of these habits seems like a hassle, think of them as a gradual buildup, says Wen. “We may not be perfect all the time,” she said, “but (there are) things we can do to improve in one or more dimensions, and we could commit to improving this kind of lifestyle. »