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Approaching 40? Lengthen Life with 5 Habits

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us make some effort to stay healthy in our middle years, but there are five key steps that may significantly lengthen our lives. The research to support this comes from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with these five key habits:

  • Stay active every day
  • Keep a low weight
  • Don’t smoke
  • Drink alcohol moderately
  • Eat a healthy diet

More Research Predictions

Rick Nauert, PhD, associate professor, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals, worked with these five habits in a new study that suggests mid-life adults may add at least 10 more years to life if they maintain them. Researchers found American men and women who chose the healthiest lifestyles were 82 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65 percent less likely to die of cancer.

How to Make These Habits Work

Most people come up short in one area or another. The best overall approach may be to take a look at your current health numbers, including weight, cholesterol and sugar levels, review your lifestyle, and schedule a checkup with your doctor to decide what to do next. Then it’s time for some homework.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Are fast foods and junk foods a part of your daily or weekly diet? Or do you bounce back and forth with vegetables and fish today and pepperoni pizza tomorrow? Get serious and find ways to eliminate saturated fats and excess sugar for starters. Then hit your local farmers market for fresh produce and find healthy recipes that you like.

Limit Drinking

When one glass of wine turns into three on a regular basis, you may have to step back. Researchers and doctors recommend one glass of wine or beer for women, and two glasses per day for men.

Stop Smoking

Almost every part of the body may be impacted by smoking. If you still smoke, get help from your doctor for the latest ways to successfully stop. Keep trying until you succeed. Also avoid secondhand smoke.

Stay Active Every Day

Find ways to fit at least 30 minutes of activity into your daily schedule as you walk, jog or work out. Once you get moving, try tai chi, yoga, or barre classes, weekend hikes, or sports vacations.

Look at Your Weight

Researchers recommend maintaining a low to normal body mass index BMI) of 18.5-24.9. BMI is determined by dividing height into weight, which is usually included in your doctor’s checkup of health numbers. If you are on the plus side, start working on diet and exercise with your doctor’s help.

Everything you do to pull these five habits into line could be a plus for your health right now and the future. Enjoy!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lincoln, Nebr.

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