Whether it’s pursuing a demanding career, eating better food, or maintaining friendships, achieving our goals requires a healthy foundation.
If you want to live life to the fullest, you have to start by taking care of your body and mind.
“The long-term effects of good and bad health habits are cumulative… In simple terms, you can’t move past your past,” says Dr. William Roberts, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Lena Winn explains that getting enough physical activity and seeing your doctor regularly is a good place to start practicing healthy habits.
Here are some habits you should definitely follow to give yourself a chance at a longer and happier life.
Young people tend to have fewer chronic diseases than older people, but prevention is key.
For example, if you test positive for prediabetes, there are steps you can take to prevent your diabetes from progressing.
consistent physical activity
Getting enough physical activity can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, says Wayne.
“There is an enormous body of research that supports regular aerobic exercise not only for living longer, but also for maintaining cognitive function longer,” says Dr. Nika Goldberg, clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine.
healthy body mass index
BMI is a measure of body fat that assesses a person’s weight category and potential risk for health problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A 2018 study found that maintaining a healthy BMI can extend your life by more than a decade and is linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Regular physical activity and eating healthy food can help you achieve this goal.
Eating more plant foods provides a good source of antioxidants.
Oxidation is a sign of stress in our system, and this can lead to changes in plaque build-up in the arteries etc.. This oxidation is also linked to ageing.”
And you can extend your life by eating less red and processed meat and more fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, according to a study published in February in the journal PLOS Medicine.
The potential benefits are particularly strong if started at a young age.
At least half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables.
She added that it is not only important “what is in the food, but how it is prepared…so grilling is better than grilling.”
Pay attention to mental health
Mental health is often a “neglected part of our general health, but it actually contributes significantly to our overall health and well-being”.
Experts have explained that dedicating just 15 minutes to mental health care can make your life easier. Try to take deep breaths when you wake up, be present with your morning coffee, go for a walk, journal and take your eyes off electronic screens.
sleep a lot
People who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have higher levels of stress hormones, blood sugar and blood pressure.
You can improve the quality of your sleep by getting regular exercise. And keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool at night, and use it only for sleeping.
Avoid drinking alcohol
A 2020 study found that avoiding alcohol can add at least a few years to your life by reducing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
Do not smoke
Smoking is a major risk factor that increases the likelihood of developing multiple cancers, not only lung cancer, but also breast cancer, for example.”
It increases the risk of heart disease, strokes and other conditions that shorten people’s lives. And if you are a smoker, it is never too late to quit smoking to prolong your life.
Build strong relationships
Experts have explained that close and positive relationships add happiness and comfort to our lives, and reduce stress.
Studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and the community have fewer health problems, live longer and experience less depression later in life, reports Harvard Health.
If you want to live a longer and healthier life? Choose a physical activity that you enjoy and start doing it right away.
There are many sports to choose from, such as running, swimming, playing tennis, cycling, playing golf, or even walking.
And a new study published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open shows that all of these activities reduce the risk of early death, as well as death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The study by the National Cancer Institute analyzed the responses of more than 272,000 people, aged between 59 and 82, who completed questionnaires about their leisure activities.
In the study, researchers followed all participants for about 12 years and analyzed health records for deaths from cancer, heart disease and others.
The US Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that US adults get 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week.
The researchers found that any combination of aerobic activity done within the recommended amount of time per week was associated with a 13% lower risk of death from any cause, compared to no activity.
Racquet sports had the highest yield for cardiovascular problems.
In fact, there was a 27% lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 16% lower risk of premature death.
The study showed that the greatest reduction in cancer risk (19%) was associated with running, which also reduced the risk of early death by 15%.
The study found that walking was most beneficial in reducing the risk of early death after racquet sports and running.
All the activities studied were associated with a lower risk of death.
“Participation in any of the activities was associated with lower mortality compared with those who did not participate in each activity, including moderate-intensity activities,” writes study author Eleanor Watts, a postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute.
The study can only show an association, not cause and effect.