Tuesday, July 5

Tips on Living a Long and Healthy Life

Many people would like to achieve a ripe old age. The good news is that more and more now have a chance of achieving that ideal. Weakening health problems such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis can be overcome if one opts to make lifestyle changes. It's never too late so if you want to increase your chances of living a long and healthy life, here are some tips:

1. Weight Lifting

Some studies from Tufts University in Boston confirmed that muscle and bone loss could be stopped and even reversed through weight training. The reduced rate of decline in bone mass helps to slow down the development of osteoporosis and related problems such as increased susceptibility to fractured bones.

2. Walking

A brisk half-hour walk three times a week improves stamina and helps maintain muscle tone and balance. A morning walk at least twice a week reduces the risk of sustaining a fall. Hip fractures in the elderly caused by falls increases the risk of mortality, such as dying of pneumonia after being bedridden for some time.

3. Quit Smoking

Studies have shown that men who quit smoking at 65 can still add up to two years to their life expectancy compared to those who continue to smoke. The risk of serious diseases steadily diminishes and breathing becomes easier. The appetite will increase and one will enjoy better health.

4. Go for nutritious diets

Include in your diet the following:
  • dark-green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, taro leaves and lettuce leaves (iron, folate and beta-carotene, calcium)
  • sweet potatoes (folate, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and fiber)
  • papaya, guava, mango, orange and pomelo (vitamin C, iron and fiber)
  • soy products such as tofu (protein and flavinoids)
  • beans (iron and a high-fiber form of protein)
  • whole grains (higher in fiber than refined grains, with more B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium and zinc)
  • Nuts (eating them more than five times a week could reduce death rates from heart diseases.
  • Salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish (omega-3 fatty acids may reduce or prevent inflammation of the joints due to arthritis and protect older people from degeneration of eyesight.
5. Take a vitamin pill

As people age, their bodies become less efficient at absorbing nutrients, as well as their diets change. Often older people choose soft foods, which may be high in energy and fat but low in fiber and vitamins. So a multivitamin with minerals will help set the balance right, though it's no substitute for a healthy diet because foods contain important components like fiber.

Older people need to boost their intake of calcium as its absorption has been reported to decline with age due to the reduction in gastric acid in the stomach and low intake of vitamin D. Also there is accumulating evidence that they may have a greater need for vitamins B12, B6 and folate due to reduced absorption.

6. Unclog your brain

New research indicates that a low-fat diet can protect your ability to learn and remember.

7. Just enough sleep

While too little sleep can leave you exhausted, too much isn't healthy either. According to University of California, San Diego researchers, people who snoozed eight hours a night had up to 13 percent increased mortality over those who slept seven hours, while those who slept four hours had a risk of death that was as much as 17 percent higher.

8. Challenge your mind

Stimulating mental activities like learning a foreign language, reading a challenging book, playing chess or attending a lecture may keep you mentally alert as you age. Being mentally active will definitely help to prevent and delay the onset of intellectual decline.

9. Keep the faith

More studies indicated that those who went to a temple, mosque or a church were healthier than their non-attending counterparts and tended to live longer.

10. Pick a pet

Seniors who own pets are less likely to be depressed than those who don't, according to a study. Pets can provide companionship, a sense of purpose and even health benefits. Stroking a warm-blooded, furry animal has shown to reduce blood pressure.

11. Stay out of stress

One quality most centenarians share is an ability to not dwell on difficulties. As long as you have food to eat, don't argue with people, and live a peaceful life, you will be happy. Stress provokes a physiological response that's hard on the body. Your body pumps out adrenaline and cortisol, which are meant to help you cope with danger in the short term but which are capable of damaging your immune system, heart and brain when you're constantly keyed up.

12. Reach out and touch someone

If you can't stand to exercise and refuse to swear off fatty foods, a mind game like chess with your friends may be equally beneficial. In a study participated by people aged 65 and up in a range of activities over years, it had been found out that social engagements may add as much to your life span as healthy measures such as cutting cholesterol or lowering blood pressure.


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