Keys to a Long Life

Keys to a Long Life

Who doesn’t want to live a longer, healthy life? Doctors, researchers and other health experts are constantly learning more about the aging process and about what you can do to slow it down. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the number one thing you can do to prevent your risks for premature death. “If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors – not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy and avoiding excessive alcohol use,” says Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Below, find three keys to living a long, and healthy, life.

Eat More Food
This isn’t a green light to eating whatever you want in huge quantities, but you can live a longer life by eating more. Pile your plate high with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean sources of protein to not only increase how much you eat, but also how well you eat. Bradley Willcox, MD, of the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu, HI and the lead researcher in the Okinawa Longevity Study explains how this works by saying, “People on Okinawa eat more food by weight than people who eat a Western-style diet. They eat a lot of produce and grains and smaller portions of higher-calorie, higher-fat foods. It’s the combination of high nutrition and lower calories that gives them a tremendous health advantage: Their risk for dementia, heart attacks, strokes and cancer are among the lowest in the world.”

Drink in Moderation
Moderate drinking for men is no more than two drinks per day and for women, it is no more than one drink per day. Studies have shown that drinking in moderation is particularly beneficial in that it lowers the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes significantly. If you’re only going to have one or two drinks per day, make that drink count. Many experts recommend consuming a glass of red wine each day, because red wine contains the powerful anti-aging antioxidant, resveratrol. Research suggests that resveratrol has the same positive health effects as calorie restriction, which means that you are at a lower risk for dementia, heart attacks, strokes and cancer by drinking your red wine.

Keep Moving
By now you know that regular physical activity is a crucial part of living a long and healthy life. Exercise tones and strengthens your muscles and bones, burns calories and leads to improved mental health and happiness. University of Florida physiologists completed a six-month study in which healthy adults ranging in age from 60 to 85 were placed on weight training programs. The researchers tested each participant after six months to check for free radical damage, which is a detriment to aging. Exercisers who engaged in a low-intensity workout for six months experienced a drop in free radical damage, while those who did not exercise had an almost 15 percent rise in free radical damage. It’s important to note in this study that those who engaged in high-intensity workouts did not see a drop in free radical damage, their damage actually increased marginally. Taking a brisk 20 or 30 minutes walk each day can have serious anti-aging effects.

Not only does a healthy lifestyle help you to live longer, but it also makes you feel healthier, happier and more satisfied at your present age. You don’t need to wait until you’re older to worry about the effects of aging, start using these three keys to a long life today to make healthy changes and keep your body in great shape as you do age.

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