With all the fad diets and numerous pieces of advice about how to live longer and healthier lives, it’s a wonder anyone can sort it all out. Still, there are things just about every successful diet and lifestyle have in common. There’s really no big secret or special formula to help us live longer and stay healthier. When sorting through the madness, five lifestyle changes stand out above the crowd when it comes to longevity and good health.
1. Cut the Crap. Reduce your intake of fat, salt and sugar. Increase your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (nuts and beans). You don’t have to become a vegetarian. It is a good idea to reduce the fatty meat and dairy in your diet. Stay away from factory farmed meats. They’re not only bad for you, they’re bad for the environment. Some doctors recommend eating fish to get your Omegas. Vegetarians can also get them from walnuts, flax-seed and other legumes.
2. Exercise Regularly. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you get up off your behind to do it. People who sit at a desk for a living die sooner than people who do physical labor for most of the work day. Regular exercise keeps body systems flowing smoothly and keeps the weight off. Just a daily half hour of walking can help you live longer. Watch out for high impact exercise. Long term repetitive injury from intense physical activity can shorten your life span.
3. Lose the Addictions. Too much of anything can be hazardous to your health. This is especially true of things that are no good for you in the first place. Is a cheap momentary thrill really worth losing several years of life? If you’re not sure how to answer that, ask your friends and family. Put down the cigarettes alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs before they put you in an early grave. You wouldn’t knowingly allow someone to poison you, yet you are poisoning yourself on a daily basis.
4. Lower Stress Levels. Stress is not only bad for you, it can shorten your life. Want to live longer and stay healthy for life? One of the best things you can do for yourself is to simplify your expectations. Stop requiring every little piece of your life to be perfect. Your brain has better things to occupy itself with than constant worry and meticulous details. It’s OK to make your life a work in progress. In fact, it’s better for you.
5. Follow Your Dreams. Stop waiting for the perfect moment to change your life. The perfect moment may never come. It’s a hundred times better to be poor and happy than it is to be rich and miserable.
Security only gets you so far. In order to live longer and stay healthier, you have to get up off of that wall and dance. So what if you make a fool of yourself? So what if you literally go for broke? As the saying goes, “Do what you love and the rest will follow.”