9 keys to a longer life

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Full living starts with paying attention to your body and mind.

“The long-term effects of good and bad health habits are cumulative. Simply put, you can’t outrun your past,” said Dr. William Roberts, a professor in the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota, via email.

Getting plenty of exercise and seeing your doctor regularly is a good start, said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

“There’s a lot of evidence about the things we can do proactively that can improve both our longevity and quality,” said Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. .

Here are some habits worth implementing to give yourself the best chance at a longer, happier life.

1. Regular screenings

Young people tend to have fewer chronic illnesses than the elderly, but prevention is key, Wen said. “For example, if you screen positive for prediabetes, there are steps you can take to avoid developing diabetes.”

Annual checkups also allow you and your doctor to get to know each other, she added. “The best time to see your doctor isn’t when you already have symptoms and need help — it’s on a regular basis to build and establish that relationship so your doctor can get a baseline of your health.”

2. Consistent Physical Activity

Getting enough exercise can lower your risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, Wen said.

“There is an overwhelming amount of research that supports regular aerobic exercise for not only living longer, but also preserving cognitive function for longer,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of Atria New York City and clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University Grossman. Medical Faculty.

The World Health Organization has recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes (2 hours) of moderate-to-vigorous exercise weekly, while pregnant people should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobics and strength training per week.

3. A healthy BMI

Body mass index is a measurement of body fat that assesses a person’s weight category and potential risk for health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Maintaining a healthy BMI can extend your life by more than a decade, a 2018 study found, and it has been linked to a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Regular exercise and eating healthy foods can help you with this.

4. Good nutrition

Eating more plant foods provides a great source of antioxidants, Goldberg said. “Oxidation is a sign of stress in our system and can lead to changes in the build-up of plaque in the arteries and the like,” she said. “And this oxidation is also associated with aging.”

The future of nutritional advice
You could extend your life by eating less red and processed meats and more fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, according to a February study published in the journal PLOS Medicine. The potential benefits are especially strong if you start young – women who started eating optimally at age 20 could extend lifespan by just over 10 years, while men who start at the same age could add 13 years.

At mealtimes, at least half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, Goldberg said. What’s also important is “not just what’s on the food, but how you prepare it,” she added. “So baking and roasting is better than frying.”

5. Pay attention to mental well-being

Mental health is often “such a neglected part of our overall health, but in fact contributes immensely to overall health and well-being,” Wen said.

Recent years have caused stress and anxiety, which can affect blood pressure, sleep, food choices, alcohol consumption or attempts to quit smoking, Goldberg said.

Getting enough sleep, healthy meals and exercise are part of your routine.  What is missing?
Taking just 15 minutes for a little mental health hygiene can make your life easier, experts say. Try taking a deep breath upon waking, being present with your morning coffee instead of being distracted, going for a walk, journaling, and taking breaks from screens.
The benefits of these mindfulness practices come from lowering levels of cortisol, the stress hormone linked to health complications. Being able to better regulate your emotions – which can be achieved with meditation – has been linked to health resilience in old age.

6. Lots of sleep

People who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have higher levels of stress hormones, blood sugar and blood pressure, Goldberg said.

You can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by exercising regularly and having good sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cold at night and only use it for sleep and sex.

7. Drink less

“For a long time, people have associated alcohol with a healthier heart,” Goldberg said. But “heavy alcohol intake can actually be a direct toxin to the heart muscle and result in heart failure. And it also raises[blood sugar]levels and causes weight gain.”

Avoiding too much alcohol can add at least several years to your life by lowering your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases, a 2020 study found.

8. No smoking

“Smoking is a major risk factor that increases the likelihood of multiple cancers — not just lung cancer, but things like breast cancer,” Wen said. It also “increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions that shorten people’s lives.”

If you’re a regular smoker, it’s not too late to quit to prolong your life, Wen added.

6 steps you can take to quit smoking and live a healthier life

9. Build Strong Relationships

Having close, positive relationships adds happiness and comfort to our lives and reduces stress, experts say. Studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and community have fewer health problems, live longer and experience less depression and cognitive decline later in life, according to Harvard Health.

If implementing all of these habits seems like a lot, think of them as a gradual build-up, Wen said. “We may not always be perfect at everything,” she said, “but (there are) things we can do to improve in one or more dimensions, and we can commit to that kind of improvement in our lifestyle.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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