How to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

old person healthyJust read a great book called The Blue Zones.  The book is about lessons from people who have lived long lives.  Here are the basics:

Move naturally:  Bring movement into your life. This doesn’t have to be iron man triathlons or marathons.  I’m talking about walking.  Make it a point to move every single day.  Check out this video called 23-1/2 hours:

Know your purpose:  I recently talked to a woman at my mom’s assisted living place who was 102 years old.  She was still extremely sharp.  When I asked her the secret to such a long, healthy life, she said she always had a purpose.  She devoted herself to teaching and education.

Kick back:  You must learn to relax.  Recent studies on meditation revealed that this act of initiating the relaxation response actually changes the expression of your genes and increases the length of your gene’s telomeres. What this means is the even if you have a genetic predisposition to diseases like cancer or diabetes, you can change the expression of those genes and prevent that disease.  And it all starts with relaxation.

Eat less: Most folks eat around 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day.  These folks who live a long time eat around 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day.  Just be mindful of watch you eat.  I’m on weight watchers now and it forces me to rethink what I eat.  I’ve almost cut out snacking because it just costs me too much.

Eat less meat:  I was a vegetarian for a dozen years.  Although I’m back to eating meat, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  And with weight watchers, all fruits and vegetables are zero points!

Drink in moderation:  There are studies showing that alcohol in moderation is good for you.  The key word here is moderation.  Excessive drinking is harmful.

Have faith:  Belief in a higher power is a big key to emotional resilience and reduction of stress.  When you decide that you are just along for the ride, you can enjoy life more.

Power of love:  Love is essential for your emotional, physical, and mental well-being.  It’s no accident that married people live longer.  Cultivate love in your life.  Forgive those loved ones that may have wronged you in some way and re-establish that love relationship.

Stay social:  Many studies back this up.  People with good social networks live longer, healthier lives.  Creating and cultivating those networks takes a lot of time and energy, but it is well worth it.  Don’t wait until you retire to establish these networks.

So there you have it.  Very simple (but sometimes not easy) ways to increase your lifespan and health.


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