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4 Keys to Living Long and Living Well

22nd June 2015 by stefanie


Most people want to live long, healthy lives, and many of us are doing that already. The average life span in the United States is close to 80, with many people living well into their nineties.

With the expectation that we’re going to be around for a while, it’s a good idea to take a look at our lives for things we can change to make sure our golden years are everything we want them to be.

Here are some tips on what you can do now to live long and prosper well into the future.

Train your body

Two types of exercise are imperative for good overall health: aerobic and anaerobic training.

Aerobic training
Aerobic training includes anything that gets your heart pumping. This strengthens the heart muscles and makes your body more efficient at moving the blood around, transporting oxygen to your cells. This has a huge beneficial impact on your body’s overall health.

Anaerobic training, also called resistance training
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: exercising with weights or other methods of resistance increases muscle strength and benefits bones. Experts recommend performing some sort of resistance training three times a week.

If you are intimidated by free weights, or you can’t find time for a gym membership or personal trainer, take heart: whole body vibration training is at least as effective at maintaining and building muscle and bone density as traditional weight training, if not more so, and a WBV workout lasts only 10 minutes.

Get your fruits and veggies

We know you’ve heard this one too. Here’s what the CDC says about tasting the fruit and veggie rainbow:

Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. (1)

Preparation is the key to getting in your recommended daily servings. At the beginning of your week, slice up a variety of vegetables into a salad. Wash and prep fresh fruit, like berries and melon, and store them in single-serving sizes in the fridge.

Take your salad and fruit with you during the week so that when it’s meal time, or you’re hit with an urge to snack, you have healthy options right on hand.

Build up bones

Old age shouldn’t be spent in a hospital bed. Reduce the risk of bone fractures in the future by doing what you can to build bone mass now.

Calcium, a mineral known for its bone-building qualities, and strontium, a mineral that shows similar properties, can be found in a variety of foods you probably already eat, especially if you’re aiming for a full dose of vegetables every day.

Foods like spinach, collard greens, and figs provide calcium (2) and seaweed, seafood, and root vegetables like carrots provide strontium (3). Incorporate these foods into your diet and you’ll be on your way to stronger bones.

Reduce Stress

When you allow stress to build up without a regular release, you’re putting your body at risk for various physical and physiological issues including high blood pressure, obesity, and depression (4).

If your life makes you feel like a kettle on full boil, take time to let off some of the steam with these ideas:

  • Take mini breaks during the day to breathe and be present
  • Don’t let your vacation time accrue at work—getting occasional breaks away from it all are extremely beneficial, even if you never leave home.
  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Volunteer. Helping others can help you feel better too.
  • Take up a new hobby, or develop an existing one. Gardening and tai chi are popular stress-relieving hobbies that help keep you in shape, too.

Don’t neglect yourself

The key to vibrant longevity is in all the healthy habits you’ve known you should be doing but just haven’t found the time. Take one of these tips and write an action plan for how you will implement it today. Then follow through! In 40 years when you’re looking back at a life well lived, you’ll be glad you did.

Tell us your secrets to living a long, healthy life. Do you know anyone who has lived past 90? Share with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Resources:

(1) cdc.gov

(2) http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/calcium/

(3) http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/strontium-treatment-osteoporosis

(4)  mayoclinic.com

 

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