Who doesn’t want to live a longer life?
Every one of us has dreams that we are striving to reach and milestones we wish to pass throughout the long life that we have envisioned. Problem is, many of us expect that we’ll get there without the work – we’ll get healthy tomorrow and quit smoking next year, we assure ourselves.
The other half of us understand the effort that goes into being healthy, but are often so bombarded with health tips that we don’t know where to start. Should we begin with an apple a day? 8 ounces of water? Yoga? Too much thinking… nap time! So to help you with your health tip checklist, read our top 5 healthy habits for a longer life. Extra credit: Commit to all five habits today.
1. GET AT LEAST 6-8 HOURS OF SLEEP A DAY
We used to think we all needed 8 hours of sleep to be deemed “healthy.” Turn out this may not be true; recent studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 – 7.5 hours live the longest, according to TIME. What’s even more shocking is that exceeding 8.5 hours of sleep may be as harmful as sleeping 5.
Sleep is not objective, however, and the right amount of sleep varies for each individual. As the National Sleep Foundation reminds us, “there is no magic number,” so rather than focus on the shoulds/should-nots, track your own sleep against your daily productivity and find out how many hours is right for you.
2. PORTION CONTROL
All things are not created equal in the world of food. Despite how happy the man in the above photo appears, eating lettuce is not that fun. What is fun, however, is fitting into your jeans! Brad just bought a new pair so he’s sticking to greens for the week.
That being said, don’t overcommit to extreme diets which will cause you to binge later on, just remember the three S’s: eat small portions, eat smart and eat slow. It will do more good for your health than you may realize. Forbes reports:
So powerful are certain lifestyle choices that recommended diets along with maintenance of physical activity and appropriate body mass can, over time, reduce the incidence of cancer by 30 percent to 40 percent, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
3. MOVE YOUR BUTT
No surprise that moving your butt is one of the biggest determinants of life expectancy. Haven’t gotten off the couch in a while? Start with walking (away from the fridge) and take the stairs. These minor lifestyle changes will bring major payoffs. Studies have shown that walking 2 miles-a-day can even cut the risk of death almost in half!
4. FLOSS DAILY
Did you know that the bacteria that lives in your teeth can cause arteries to swell, which could lead to heart disease? Scary! To avoid major problems later on, floss daily. Not only will it improve your smile, it will improve your life. Won’t hurt your love life either…
5. DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY
Try to stop taking life so seriously — have fun with it! When you find yourself getting stressed, take a step back and reassess your situation and try meditation or yoga. Make happiness a priority. According a study of 3,853 adults, the “happiest people” have a 35% reduction in risk of death when compared with the “least happy.” Start with the following steps to get your smile on:
- Be attuned to what gives you genuine satisfaction
- Study yourself. Focus on how you feel rather than what you think you ought to feel.
- Take control. Realize that changing unhappy conditions takes work and commit to putting in the effort.