HEALTHY LIVING: Keys to health help prolong life

Do eating healthier and exercising actually help us live longer? Check out these tips and decide for yourself.

As the population ages and family and friends start developing various illnesses, people wonder,’is there something I can do to live longer?” .

There have been many longevity (length of life) studies over the years looking at a variety of different cultures and populations to help determine if there is something in the environment or if the secret is in our individual health blueprints to determine how long we live.

Generally, it has been found that there is a mix of genetics and environment at play that is responsible for our length of life.

Looking to your parents and grandparents can give an indication of a path you may be on for your later years, but many lifestyle changes such as eating and activity may help guide health in a positive direction along the way.

There are many things we are in control of to help improve our health through changes in lifestyle behaviours. Information is widely available, but may require assistance for navigating around the myths and realities.

Canadian registered dietitian, Leslie Beck, wrote an interesting, comprehensive book, titled, Longevity Diet: Power of Food to Slow Aging and Maintain Optimal Health and Energy.

Summarized are the top key methods to optimize health through positive lifestyle behaviours:

• Eat a plant-focused diet (this could naturally reduce your overall calorie and fat intake, which may improve cholesterol levels). Plant-focused eating will offer more fibre, phytochemicals (healthful, colourful plant chemicals, such as antioxidants), vitamins and minerals.

This does not necessarily mean becoming vegetarian, but reducing the amount of animal protein you eat over the week may help.

• Daily physical activity, incorporating three main types, including a) weight bearing exercise (walking, lifting weights) which is good for your muscles and bone strength; b) flexibility (to help coordination and balance); c) cardiovascular exercise (which can help keep the heart, lungs and blood vessels in good shape).

• Keep your brain alert (word games, math puzzles, learn a new hobby/skill or sport, or change your job).

• Sleep well (methods to help include establishing an evening bedtime routine, peaceful environment, limiting late-night snacks, caffeine, alcohol, and reducing stress at night).

• Keep a positive attitude (optimism about the future and viewing the world to see the good things may help to reduce chronic stress chemicals).

• Stay connected (volunteer, join a group or take on a project that interests you and that you are passionate about).

• Literacy. A newly released study from the British Medical Journal in March 2012 has indicated that there is a strong relationship between literacy levels and mortality. This study demonstrates a seventh important key to longevity, which is health literacy.

Taking small steps to practice these seven lifestyle behaviours could help improve how you feel day to day, affect your quality of life, wellbeing and possibly increase your overall health and lifespan.

 

Sandra Gentleman is a registered dietitian who is passionate about health and wellness. She is co-owner of Wild West Watersports.

Just Posted

Steelhead, Huu-ay-aht submit plans for Kwispaa LNG Project

Total plan would cost $10 billion, last 25 years

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Mother passes SD70 trustee torch to daughter in Port Alberni

Jane Jones loses after one term, but proud of her daughter Connie Watts

ELECTION 2018: Sharie Minions named Port Alberni mayor

Haggard, Solda, Washington, Poon, Paulson and Corbeil named councillors

Four incumbents re-elected to School District 70 in Port Alberni

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board will have a new look

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read