Adopt healthy habits
I know your Mom has told you this a billion times. She’s right. As we get older, the tips of our chromosomes (or telomeres) become shorter and this puts us at risk for disease. Bet you never heard this before! The good news, though, is that you can do something to ensure you slow down the process. Healthy habits do it.
There is research to prove that those who are aware that they must take care of their health do a better job of it. They make the right choices, have better relationships and lead a fulfilling life.
Friends are great. Friends help you live longer and happier. There is a strong link between social connections and longevity. Do choose your friends though. Since habits are contagious, why not choose good habits? It seems even obesity and smoking are contagious! So is quitting ;-). Which brings us to…
Kick the butt
So you already know quitting smoking helps you live healthier and longer. You get enough warning on the packs but a study proved that when you quit, say, when you’re 30, you can increase your life by a whole ten years. Cool eh? Think about it. And act on it.
Start power napping
You’ve heard about the popular siesta. A regular power nap increases your longevity and reduces your risk for heart disease, while balancing your stress hormones. Another good reason to zzz.
Follow a healthy diet
We’re talking of a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. This lowers your risk of of obesity, elevated blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and other factors that put you at risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Shed the extra pounds
Working towards a healthy weight can protect you against diabetes, heart disease, and other life-shortening conditions. The biggest culprit is belly fat. So think of getting rid of that spare tire. Eat more fiber and start exercising. Even a thirty minute brisk walk daily helps. And this takes us to….
Fact: you live longer when you exercise regularly. The physical activity lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and depression. Exercise also keeps you mentally sharp as you get older, helping you avoid conditions like Alzheimer’s. So aim for at least two and a half hours of exercise per week. More is obviously better.
Go easy on the alcohol
Heart disease, you know, is linked to the level of alcohol consumption. So, moderation is key. Too much also adds a pad to your middle and raises your blood pressure, along with a bunch of other health issues.
No, no, I don’t mean the saffron robes and the chanting. But the truth is, when you are part of a spiritual group that meets up and chants, listens to talks, etc. it strengthens your immune system. You develop a strong social network during these meetings and this boosts your overall health.
Forget about issues you have with people. Let go of anger. When you give in to anger and rage, you’re decreasing the efficiency of your lungs and laying yourself open to heart disease, stroke and other health problems. Forgiving frees you from anxiety and brings down your blood pressure, making you breathe more comfortably.
Avoid accidents. How dumb does that sound? What I really mean is, wear a helmet when you drive a two-wheeler. Reminds me of a nice poster. “Unlike Ganesha, we cannot get a head replacement”. If you’re a biker, wear safety gear. Use your seatbelt in your car. Watch your step when you walk.
Enough sleep helps you manage your weight and keep diabetes and heart disease at bay. Your mood also improves. If you already have an ailment, adequate sleep will help you recover faster. So try and grab at least 7 or 8 hours.
Don’t ignore stress
Managing your stress not only helps prevent heart disease, but may actually reverse it. I know stress is a standard part of life, but there are ways to manage it. Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference.
Take up interesting hobbies
Take up activities that you enjoy. This also helps avoid the risk of Alzheimer’s, stroke and heart disease.
So, there you have it. You’re probably aware of each of the above tips, but it helps to revisit them every other day, so we can “be conscious”
Stay healthy, folks, and may 2012 be everything you wish for!
Vidya Sury enjoys life, earning her calories as a Freelance Writer and Professional Blogger. She’s mom to a teenager who believes almost everything she says, especially about the importance of being healthy.