10 Secrets to a Happy Healthy Long Life
In school, we learned the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. While the ant put away food for winter, the grasshopper lived only for the moment. In the end, the grasshopper didn’t fare too well. We can think about taking care of our bodies as we age the same way. To live our best lives as we age, we have to plan for the long haul to avoid pain and disease later in life.
Whether you are 40 or 60, it’s never too late to start taking care of your body. By taking preventative measures now, you can ensure you have a happy healthy long life.
1. Modify Your Diet
Your body functions best when you fuel it with fresh fruits and vegetables and other whole foods. When you eat a mostly plant-based diet, you’ll be getting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that slow the aging process. You don’t have to give up meats completely, just make sure you eat less processed meat and fill up on healthy choices, like omega-3 rich fish, instead.
Adults that are cleared by their doctors should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. You don’t have to do a high-intensity cardio workout to reap the benefits of exercise. Taking ten minute walking breaks throughout the day is just as beneficial. Most importantly, find what works for you! You’ll be more likely to stick to an exercise plan if the activity is something you enjoy.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Your body heals and recharges during sleep, so it’s important to get at least seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night. When you sleep, your body resets itself, so that you can wake up fresh each day. If you find yourself needing more than eight hours of sleep every night, you may want to discuss this with your doctor. Lack of sleep can cause serious side effects, so it's important that you learn what's keeping you up at night so that you can fix it.
4. Stress Management
Finding your zen can be hard, especially when you’re going through a stressful situation or the demands of daily life creep in. It’s important to have a healthy outlet for stress relief, because chronic stress can lead to several serious health issues down the road. When you notice the triggers of stress around you, try to stop stress before it becomes a health issue. Many people make use of stress management outlets, such as exercise, meditation or writing.
5. Have a Strong Support System
Having a strong support system is key to a long and healthy life. A sense of community can help you better manage stress. When you have friends and family around, you’ll be more likely to enjoy exercise as well. A strong support system provides an invaluable sense of self-worth, which is the foundation of a happy healthy long life.
6. Limit Exposure to Harmful Substances
The constant reminders to stay away from harmful substances only become more important as you age. If you smoke, now is the time to stop! Try to limit alcohol consumption to one glass of red wine, which contains antioxidants that help slow aging.
Another harmful substance can even be too much of a good thing: the sun. Limit exposure to the sun to prevent not only fine lines and wrinkles, but also age spots and skin cancer. In addition, limit exposure to harmful chemicals that might be in the air and in your food. Highly processed foods might be tasty in a pinch, but they’re terrible for your health.
7. Find a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight and BMI can help you live longer. Many chronic diseases are linked to obesity. By managing your weight now, you can make sure you stay healthy later in life. Many of these tips, like eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight.
8. Keep Regular Doctor Appointments
No one likes going to the doctor, but it’s important to schedule regular screenings and physicals as you age. If you have a consistent pain or something just doesn’t feel right, make an appointment with your primary care physician to rule out anything serious. Your relationship with your doctor should be open and honest to ensure you get the best care possible.
9. Know Your Risk Factors
While your health isn’t entirely determined by genetics, your family history does have a direct impact on your health. If you have a family history of certain diseases or cancers, make sure to get early screenings and testing. Early prevention can be key in stopping an illness before it is too late.
10. Practice Gratitude
This final tip is the easiest one of all: be grateful! Try to leave negativity at the door and focus on all the good things you do have. It’s been shown that positive people live longer. Just like a healthy diet, filling your life with positive people, thoughts and things can have long-lasting positive impacts on your longevity.
Final Thoughts on a Happy Healthy Long Life
These tips are important to staying healthy. When you’re healthy, you’ll feel happier and that positivity can lead to a longer life. So these tips shouldn’t be a secret. Share them with your friends, and lead a long, happy life together!