Healthy Habits for Living Longer and Better

Making just a few small changes in your lifestyle and sticking to them can add years to your life. Even if change is not always easy, it can be done. Set small goals, ease in changes one at a time and it will not be long before you notice good changes to your health and mood. Here are nine healthy habits for living longer and better.

1. Eat breakfast every morning.
foodBreakfast eaters are winners when it comes to good health. People who have a morning meal are likely to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol.
The result is often a lower body weight, lower cholesterol count, and less change of overeating. Why?

Breakfast can hold off hunger pangs until lunchtime and make high-calorie snacks less tempting.

2. Add fish and dairy to your diet.
Fish are a good source of protein and a food relatively low in the bad type of dietary fat called saturated fat. On top of that, fish such as herring, sardines, and albacore tuna have omega-3 fatty acids – which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. The calcium in dairy is known to be very good for building strong bones and teeth. It may help prevent high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease, and colon cancer. Three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk supports body fat loss if it is part of a reduced-calorie meal plan.

3. Get plenty of sleep.
good-sleepMore than two-thirds of older adults suffer from sleep problems and many adults don’t get the rest they need to stay alert. Sleep is very important to good health and to mental and emotional well-being.

Not getting the right amount of sleep can lead to serious health risk for: Heart disease, Heart attack, Heart failure, Irregular heartbeat, High blood pressure, Stroke, Diabetes, Skin aging, Forgetful, Weight Gain and Death.

4. Get a daily dose of friendship and laughter.
Volunteer. Go to church. Join a club. Whatever you do, do it with people. Shared activities are good for your physical and mental health. Friends can help you stay healthy by encouraging you to go see a doctor when something is wrong. They can support you by helping you run errands if you’re busy or sick. They can give you emotional support by listening to your problems. But most of all, they make you laugh. Laughter is one the best healthy habits for lowering stress and anxiety. Smiling and laughing cause good changes in your body. Laughter improves blood flow, stimulates the nervous system, builds up the immune system, and makes the heart stronger. All of these small benefits can add years to your life. So, call a friend and have a laugh!

5. Move your body.
exerciseWe know that keeping active has many benefits like: controlling weight, maintaining healthy bones, reducing the risk of getting high blood pressure and diabetes. But more than 60% of adults do not get regular exercise.

Don’t have time? A simple way to move your body is to add more walking into your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the store. Walk and talk with friends instead of meeting for a meal. Adding extra steps to your day can add years to your life.

6. Take care of your teeth and gums.
Did you know that flossing your teeth every day could add 6 years to your life? On top of preventing disease, flossing and brushing can keep your teeth strong so you can chew fruits and vegetables, speaking properly, and of course, smile.

7. Protect your skin.
The best way to protect your skin and make it look younger is to stay out of the sun. The sun has harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause wrinkles, dryness, age spots, and skin cancers.

8. Keep your hands clean.
Regular hand washing can protect you from getting germs or spreading germs at home and work. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and clean your hands after every time. Alcohol-based gels and wipes also work well. If you have children, remind them to wash their hands too. Germs that cause colds, coughs, flu and pneumonia can spread easily.

9. See your doctor for yearly well visits.
doctorYour doctor can tell you how often you need a check-up. When you see your doctor for your primary care needs, you get more consistent care. Build a long-term relationship with your doctor so that you get the right preventive care, ongoing treatment, and follow-up care whenever needed. If you are sick and it is not an emergency, call your doctor instead of going to the emergency room for care. Your doctor knows you the best and can provide the best treatment for you.