Longevity does not occur because one has dodged every disease out there. A long life, lived well, is the result of a life lived with intention and consistent healthy habits. That is what arms the body with the defenses it needs to fight off unwanted disease; to recover faster and better.
Reasonable steps culled from studying long-living populations around the world and cutting-edge scientific research point to these seven habits as making the difference between a long life of suffering or a long life lived with vitality:
- Keep breathing! As the Chinese fortune cookie advises: ‘The secret to long life is to keep breathing’. Identify times in your day when you can consciously take three to five deep breaths. It’s that simple. Here are some ideas:
* first thing in the morning before getting out of bed
* in your car, whenever you are stopped at a red light
* standing in line at the grocery store
* before you start and end every reflexology session
* last thing in the evening before turning out the light
- Move. The ability to exercise remains the single most powerful predictor of longevity. Movement encompasses cardio activities, strength training and flexibility activities. Together they strengthen your bones, your muscles and your heart, teach balance and combat depression.
- Sun.15 minutes/day or 1000 IU of vitamin D. With the weakening of the ozone barrier that protects us from harmful rays, it’s best to avoid being out in the sun during the peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm. Try an early morning walk just after the sun has risen.
- FoodEat food that looks the same when you eat it as when it came out of the ground. Whole, unprocessed food. Avoid the ‘dirty dozen plus’, if you don’t buy organic; they’re heavily laden with pesticides. They are strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, Make half your plate fruits and/or vegetables.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity leads to systemic inflammation that leads to raised blood sugar, unhealthy LDL-cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which all damage the lining of the arteries. Excess fat increases cancer risk, leads to joint pain, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and an early death.
- Sleep more than seven hours/night. Adequate sleep increases the growth hormone, a critical vitality booster. Regular patterns of four to five hours/night create a blood sugar level equal to that of someone above the legal level of alcohol, leading to impaired thinking and judgment, as well as other potential problems caused by a sugar imbalance.
- Purpose. Find a reason to get up every day. A reason to be here. You have one life; it makes sense to love living it.
TimeYour Body– Dr. Mehmet Oz
The Blue Zones, The Science of Living Longer– National Geographic