During a recent family crisis, I had the opportunity to get to know several respected elderly individuals in their 90s and listen to their inspiring stories about their longevity. It has been a very valuable experience. What we’ve been advocating for cancer prevention is actually reflected in the practices or habits of real people who have managed to outlive many around them. Through my informal conversations, I learned that small lifestyle changes can go a long way to boosting longevity.
There is a wealth of information about longevity out there. You may have read some of it. However, I’d like to share what I learned from the real folks by briefly summing up these 7 tips:
1. Be physically active. Exercise, walk around, enjoy gardening, keep moving, and get involved in church, social groups and the community. Simply put, find things to do.
2. Eat healthy and properly. Make sure to eat more fruits and vegetables and don’t over-eat. Taking care of your body is crucial to longevity.
3. Be positive; keep your eye on the big picture and the purpose of life. Why do you get up in the morning? Helping others can be rewarding. Both my father and my father-in-law always made time for others; they helped a lot of people.
4. Work at creating a happy marriage. Happy marriages can positively impact your life expectancy, for sure. I personally know several folks in their 80s and 90s whose marriage lasted over 50 or 60 years.
5. Take a nap and sleep well. In today’s rush to get everything done and an emphasis on healthy eating and exercise, we often forget about the huge benefits of sleep. Taking a midday nap is one of the best ways to lower stress from work and stress on your heart. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and adversely affects health, especially mental health. People I know who have lived a long life make time to take a nap now and then, and some almost everyday.
6. Relax and reduce stress from life. Peace of mind adds to your longevity.
7. See you doctor regularly. If you are experiencing what may be a medical issue, don’t put off seeing a medical professional. Most of the elderly folks I have had the privilege to meet have had their bouts with health complications, such as bypass surgery, cancer, or other illnesses, but they overcame the challenges and lived well by being proactive and taking preventative measures.
A Final Word from the Wise
Clearly, people living a simple, healthy lifestyle — not smoking or consuming alcohol, engaging in physical activity, eating healthy and staying happy experience longevity. Again, living a healthy lifestyle is a simple matter.
Photo Credit: by M@rg