add years to your life

It seems that every week there’s some new study about how to achieve this or avoid that.

Probably the most common of which relates to diet. There’s always some new guru who claims he has cracked the code to losing weight while eating all the crap we like.

It just doesn’t work that way.

I figure that when it comes to diet and exercise, there’s simply no short-cut. In fact, in life, most short-cuts can be detrimental to our health.

I like no nonsense, simple, practical ideas. I figure that they have worked for years so as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it.”

Just the other day I came across an article on Yahoo! about certain habits that will add years to our lives.

For a hoot I clicked over to it, but was pleasantly surprised.

No gimmicks. No techno-babble. Just simple habits we can all adopt into our lives.

Looking over the list I see that I’m on the right track though I could do more in the exercise department. Guess I’ll have to put that on my list.

Success isn’t just about building fame and fortune, but about living a balanced life. We need to divvy up our time between family, friends, work and ourselves.

The time we take for ourselves allows us to perform better in all other areas of life so we should be careful never to neglect this.

Just like parents try so hard to take care of their children’s health we should never forget to take care of our own.

And I’m not sure about you, but I know quite a few people who would appreciate an extra 8 years, wouldn’t you?!

Adrian Shepherd

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Adopt simple, healthy habits to help you live longer and stronger.

If you think that how long you’ll live is based on how long your grandparents and parents live, you’re only partly right. While genetics certainly have an impact, you have more control than you might assume. “By the time you turn 55, only about 30% of how quickly you age is based on your genes, as compared to 50% when you’re younger—the rest is due to your lifestyle choices,” says Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

Add 2.2 years: Walk 30 minutes a day

This is crucial to keeping your weight steady and lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but fitting in a solid half-hour can be tricky. Just as good (and easier) is weaving in that 30 minutes throughout your day; wearing a pedometer can help you stay on track.

Add 5.6 years: Get up and move!

Just as important as getting in that 30 minutes of walking is making your overall daily life more active. Getting a full 100 minutes of movement a day is what gives you the biggest health benefits. An easy way to do that: Get up and move any time you’re usually sedentary—during TV commercials, for example. The average commercial break lasts for 2 to 3 minutes—plenty of time for you to work in a few mini moves like squats, jumping jacks or biceps curls (keep a set of free weights under your couch), or even just a few quick laps around the den.

Add 3 years: Go to bed 15 minutes earlier

This will help you get an extra 7.5 hours of shut-eye over the course of a month. “Sleep is profoundly important,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine. “It’s when every organ and system in your body repairs, restores and resets itself. Not getting enough sleep compromises how well your entire body functions.” Although everyone’s sleep needs are different, experts say that regularly getting less than 7 hours per night is what starts to have a negative impact.

Add 1.8 years: Do some strength training

Getting your heart pumping is important, but since strength training (lifting weights, exercising with resistance bands) builds muscle, it boosts your metabolism long-term, helping to protect against diabetes and heart disease. Weight-bearing activities also strengthen your bones, which lowers your osteoporosis risk.

Add 3-5 years: Floss daily

A healthy smile can also lead to a healthy heart. Numerous studies show that periodontal and cardiovascular disease are linked. Ideally, you should floss in the morning and at night—but even doing it just once a day will improve your health.

Add 14 years: Eat healthy

“Food has a very big impact on the genes that accelerate or slow down the aging process,” says Dr. Roizen. So exactly what does eating healthy mean?

Choose “good” fats. Snacks like nuts are better than ones that contain saturated fats, like butter and full-fat cheese.

Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily—and aim for variety. “When you eat many different fruits and vegetables, you get thousands of different disease-fighting nutrients,” says Dr. Katz. One study found that people who regularly eat a variety of veggies lowered their risk of lung cancer by 23%.

Eat fish twice a week. Research shows that the omega-3 fats found in fish like salmon are among the biggest health boosters, helping to fight heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis, says Diane McKay, PhD, a researcher with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Go for fiber-rich whole grains. Spooning up a high-fiber breakfast cereal instead of a more refined, sugary one cuts your risk of heart disease and diabetes by nearly 30%.

Add 8 years: Have more sex with your partner

Being in a satisfying relationship is good for your heart and soul. Women in a healthy monogamous relationship are significantly healthier compared with those who are either unhappy or sexually inactive, says Dr. Roizen.

Add 2 years: Don’t text and drive

Studies show that texting while driving increases your risk of being in a serious accident sixfold—possibly making it more dangerous than driving drunk.

Add 4 years: Manage stress

Of course you can’t control when an overloaded work schedule and family obligations might hit, but how you handle stress ultimately has the biggest impact on your health. “A highly stressed 50-year-old’s ‘real age’ could be as high as 82,” says Dr. Roizen. When you’re constantly tense, your blood pressure, heart rate and levels of the stress hormone cortisol are all raised, which increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Exercise can help a lot: Just 15 minutes of brisk walking increases your body’s production of feel-good chemicals, like endorphins.

Chew gum. A British study of more than 2,000 workers found that people who regularly chewed gum had significantly less work-related and overall stress and depression than those who didn’t get this oral fix. Chewing gum may stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps your body relax and increases levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that makes us feel calmer and happier.

Add 6-12 years: Stop smoking

It’s one of the worst habits, but your health improves almost immediately after you quit. Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop; two weeks to three months after quitting, your circulation and lung function improve; two years later, your heart disease and lung cancer risk are cut in half; 15 years later, your risk of heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s. What more motivation do you need?

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