Wellness is nothing but the state of being in good health. We can call a person healthy if he/she is not only physically but also mentally fit. Significantly, our healthy practices can result in a better life and longevity. It doesn’t matter what your age is, what you have to do for better living is to maintain a good choice of habits. The actions we can take to increase health and lifespan may be quite simple. So, what are the major factors that can have an impact on your longevity? First and foremost, you have to identify your daily habits, and consider whether they are good or bad. If your choices failed to work for good health, it may be time to change your daily habits.
Research published recently in the April 30, 2018 issue of Circulation, the AHA (American Heart Association)’s journal, shows that the United States ranks 31st in the world for life expectancy among those born in 2015 even though it is one of the richest nations in the world and spends more on healthcare per person as a percent of gross domestic product than any other country. The study suggests that adults in the US who practice 5 healthy habits may live 10 years longer compared to others who follow none of the 5 habits. These 5 habits include,
- eating a healthy diet
- getting regular exercise
- not smoking
- staying at a healthy weight
- limiting alcohol
Let’s see how these strategies can help extend your lifespan.
- Eating a healthy diet: What does a healthy diet mean? We know food is essential for life. But nutrient-rich foods are essential for a good diet. You have to use the food which provides proteins, minerals and vitamins. You can use wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals such as barley and oats instead of breads, cereals and pasta made from refined grains, brown rice instead of white rice, plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish etc. for good health. Remember to reduce the use of red meat, saturated fat and sugar and drink plenty of water. Avoid soft drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, and sports drinks. Limit refined carbohydrate foods such as pastries and candies as well as high-calorie foods such as potato chips, French fries, ice cream,and other sweets.
- Getting regular exercise: Daily exercise is a must for a healthy life. It can activate your bones and strengthen the muscles. Walking for an hour daily, running, swimming, cycling etc. can help improve your mobility.
- Not smoking: It is difficult to ensure a long and healthy life if you cannot control smoking. Cigarette smoking is one of the main causes of heart diseases. It also leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and physical inactivity.
- Weight control: Weight control is a major concern many people have. Obesity is a major contributor to heart disease, premature death, stroke etc. The AHA study also suggests that it is important to maintain a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9.
- Moderation of alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can result in various risky health problems. High level usage of alcohol leads to heart disease, certain cancers, and increases blood pressure. The AHA considers moderate alcohol consumption to be an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces 80-proof spirits, or 1 ounce 100-proof spirits.)
Increasing lifespan may seem beyond our control. But by following these vital habits in your daily life you can improve your health and increase your lifespan. The US research study mentioned at the beginning also suggested that starting at age 50, men are estimated to have an average life expectancy of 14 years and women are estimated to have an average expectancy of 12 years if they follow all these 5 habits. The authors point out that the American healthcare system focuses mainly on drug discovery and disease management. They are of the opinion that increased emphasis on prevention could help to more effectively control the most common and most expensive diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.