6 Ways to Live a Longer and Healthier Life
How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Who doesn't want to live a longer and healthier life? If I had to describe life in one word, it would be "grand." How insanely amazing is it to be alive, to draw breath, to experience music, to see in color, to know that we're the culmination of millions of years of evolution, and to realize how astronomically lucky we are to exist. Given all this, why are we constantly improving on ways to kill each other and ourselves?
We're human. We're the epitome of imperfection, and we're going to make a cornucopia of blunders for the foreseeable future. However, we can learn, adapt, and dare to be better. I used to drink, smoke, eat a lot of junk food, and drive without a seatbelt. It wasn't until my life was at stake that I really examined the gift of life under new scrutiny.
I scoured the internet, attempting to learn how to reverse the range of damages I had inflicted upon myself. I picked up every health-benefit tip I could find—I didn't want to die yet. No matter how insignificant or minuscule the benefit, I employed it. I have written this article to share with you the six habits I've retained to live a longer and healthier life.
1. Become More Active
The human body was not designed to be inactive, it was designed for mobility. Sitting is not a natural state for us, it is only that our skeletal system align and conform the way it did to accommodate our poor habits. Our skeletal system is of paramount importance to our health and to our very lives. With increased inactivity, our bones and joints will wear down, much like our muscles will begin to atrophy.
For those not accustomed with activity, walking is a great start. Additionally, in 2002 a study conducted by the American Heart Association determined that walking briskly is just as effective at lowering stress and bad cholesterol as running without specific strains on the body. Also will ward off heart disease and diabetes. Here are a few reasons why you should be walking rather than running:
- Consistent running can cause articular cartilage damage and may also lead to bone conditions like osteoarthritis.
- Running can hamper your immune system's effectiveness, thus runners are more susceptible to infections, and more open to illnesses.
- Running can stress your heart and lead to further damage, walking will spare you cardiovascular damage.
- Running may lead to joint damage and loss of glyco-proteins, the lubricant in our joints.
- Runners burn not only fat, but muscle. So, if your goal is to build and maintain muscle, avoid running too often.
Anyone can throw activity facts at you, but it is ultimately you that must decide if your longevity is worth walking for half an hour a day. You will have to find the motivation to change your ways. If it's not running or walking, finding an activity that you can engage in daily is imperative. If you cannot find the will for yourself, than find the will for a loved one.
Coca-Cola Happiness Research
2. Have a Healthy Sex Life
Having healthy sexual relations has an abundance of positive effects on the human body and the mind. Engaging in two to three amorous activity a week can increase blood flow, boost immunity, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep cycles, improve your hearts efficiency, and burn as much calories as a 30 minute run. Also, the mere activity itself isn't too shabby either.
Yet another health benefit of increased sexual relations is simply all the human contact. A research study undertaken by the Coca-Cola company (ironic considering how unhealthy soft drinks can be for you), which included 16 countries over 4 continents, concluded that human contact is the most prevalent factor in attaining and maintaining happiness.
A secondary way to have a healthy sex life, is don't risk having unprotected sex. What good is striving to live a healthier life if you're going to toss the dice to avoid a minor inconvenience? Don't merely have a sex life, have a healthy sex life. All the rewards, none of the risk.
3. Manage Your Daily Calorie Intake
Unlike walking or having copious amounts of sex to improve your health and extend your life, managing what you consume will by far require the most will power. A diet rich in healthy proteins, healthy fats, fruits/vegetables and nuts will go a long way towards adding years to your life. Also, it's not just what you eat, but how much you eat.
Dan Buettner, a notable author who conducts longevity studies globally discovered that the most senior members of the Japanese populace, stopped eating part way from being full. Additionally, researchers from the University of St. Louis determined eating smaller meals slowed the aging process.
During the study taking place in 2008, research concluded that lowering caloric intake inhibits the production of a hormone called T3, which adversely affects metabolism and increases the aging process. So, if you're planning on living well through your 90s, it may not be so bad to not clean your plate. Or you can prepare a plate that will not totally satiate your hunger, as to avoid any unwanted waste of food.
In conjunction with limiting your caloric intake, consuming a healthy amount of water is key in maintaining weight, overall health and preserving your youth. In a temperate climate, the Institute of Medicine recommends drinking between 2.5 to 3 liters a day. Water flushes your system of harmful toxins, delivers nutrients to your cells, and it keeps you looking and feeling young, not a bad deal.
4. Avoid Carcinogens
Carcinogens are cancer-causing elements. In this day and age we are more aware then ever of carcinogens and how to avoid or circumvent them. If you're looking to extend your life expectancy, here are some carcinogens to be vigilant against:
- Cigarette Smoke - If you're a smoker, than you have my sincerest empathy. I've had that proverbial monkey on my back and many people are fortunate to never know the ashy grasp it has on a person. Quitting can increase your life span as much as 15 years.
- UV Rays - When you're out in the sun for an extended period of time, dab on some sunblock for much needed UVA and UVB protection. For me personally, I stay out of the sun altogether, it is the number one natural element that ages the skin. Also, sport shades that are polarized and have sufficient UV protection. If you intend to live long and see the future, you're going to want to protect your eyes.
- Pesticides - Utilized for the kill and control of bugs, containing many carcinogens, including most notably sodium 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetate. Extended periods of exposure has been linked to leukemia and lymphoma. I buy and eat only certified pesticide free fruits and vegetables.
- Additives and Chemicals - Prepare yourself, this might be a surprising list of carcinogens that are in our every day products. Such as: Johnson's Baby Shampoo, Cover Girl Natural Finish Make Up, Dove Bar Soap, Crest Toothpaste With Tarter Control, Tide Laundry Detergent, Cheer Laundry Detergent, Lysol Disinfectant. Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs to name a few.
I can keep going but I'd rather encourage you to seek out the products you use often, and do a little research on the chemicals that are being used. This should be a stark reminder that we have not yet surpassed the age where man's concern for fellow man is exceeded over the greed of men. I can only describe these poisoners of the planet and its citizens as insidious.
Is There an Afterlife?
Do you believe in some form of an afterlife?
5. Get Deep Sleep
There is no substitute to rejuvenate the mind and the body than a deep, drug-free, natural six to seven hours of sleep. Yes, I said seven and not eight. New studies are emerging that strongly suggest that eight hours of sleep might be generally doing more harm than good. People who took part in the study who slept six to seven hours had a lower mortality rate.
Aim for as much uninterrupted sleep as possible, try to adhere to a sharp sleep schedule. When you reach REM sleep, your body is busy rebuilding tissue, renewing the body from the inside out. Sleeping in total darkness will aid you to fall asleep quicker, so avoid leaving your television or laptop on. Also, avoid stimulating activities 20 minutes before heading to bed.
Not getting enough deep restful sleep will inevitably result in anxiety, moodiness, lower serotonin levels, increase in stress, weight fluctuations, vision complications and weakening of the immune system. We spend one third of our entire lives in a bed, make sure you're sleeping as comfortably as possible.
6. Spend Time With Friends and Family
Much research has determined that loneliness and depression are show stoppers. I personally think it is poetically fitting as far as human mortality is concerned. If you're deprived of strong family ties, a multitude of friendships, and suffer bouts of solitude and depression, then you are at greater risk of heart disease.
Loneliness and depression can cause inflammation and lower your immune system's defenses to shield you from infections and diseases. But I think the psychological ramifications are even worse. There's loads of anecdotal evidence supporting that when people lose the will to live, death isn't far behind. If the aforementioned sounds like it fits you, than use this information as your strength to make a commitment towards making more connections with people around you.
To jump start the procedure, maybe you can consider adopting a pet. Caring for a pet relieves stress, keeps loneliness and depression at bay, and has been proven to extend an individual's life. Many wonderful animals are euthanized every year, you can save their life, and in return they can help save yours.
I want to thank the readers for making it through my article, and I'd be deeply humbled for your comment, thoughts, and your point of view on this topic. May you all live long and joy-filled, healthy lives. Also, feel free to share this article with a friend that might find it useful or your social network, Facebook, tweet it, pin it, share it!