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Playing the long game


As a coach who works with the older population (amongst others), I am often asked how to increase longevity and take care of the body. There are many different factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and in this article, I will outline several strategies that can help you live a long and healthy life.


Exercise regularly


One of the most important things you can do for your body is to exercise regularly. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (1). It also helps to improve cardiovascular health, bone density, and muscle strength. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming (2).


Eat a healthy diet


Another key factor in promoting longevity is maintaining a healthy diet. Focus on eating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid processed and packaged foods, which are often high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Limit your intake of red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and alcohol. A healthy diet can help to prevent chronic diseases and improve overall health (3).


Get enough sleep


Getting enough sleep is critical for good health, as it allows the body to repair and regenerate. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and establish a regular sleep routine to help regulate your body's internal clock. Avoid screens and bright lights before bedtime, and create a comfortable sleep environment (4).


Manage stress


Stress can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health, so it's important to learn how to manage stress effectively. Some effective stress management techniques include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and exercise. Make time for activities that you enjoy and that help you relax, such as spending time with friends and family, reading, or listening to music (5).


Stay socially connected


Social connections are an important aspect of overall health and longevity. Make time for friends and family, and participate in social activities that you enjoy. Volunteer, join a club or group, or attend events in your community. Social connections have been shown to reduce the risk of depression, improve cognitive function, and promote a sense of purpose (6).


Debunking preconceived notions


There are many preconceived notions about what it takes to live a long and healthy life, and some of them are not based on scientific evidence. Here are a few that should be debunked:

  • Myth: You need to drink eight glasses of water per day to stay healthy. Truth: The amount of water you need depends on several factors, including your age, gender, weight, and activity level. There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how much water to drink (7).

  • Myth: You need to take multivitamins to be healthy. Truth: If you eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from food. Taking a multivitamin may be unnecessary and even harmful if you exceed the recommended doses of certain vitamins and minerals (8).

  • Myth: You need to do intense exercise to see results. Truth: Any form of physical activity is better than none. Even light exercise, such as walking, can have significant health benefits. You don't need to do intense workouts to improve your health (9).


Conclusion


In reality, there are many different strategies you can use to increase longevity and take care of your body. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, stress management, and social connections are all important factors in promoting good health. By making these lifestyle changes, you can improve your physical and mental well-being and increase your chances of living a long and fulfilling life. It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy living, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's also important to be patient and consistent with your efforts, as healthy habits take time to develop and maintain.


In addition, it's important to stay informed about current research and recommendations for healthy living. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise or diet regimen, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.

By taking care of your body and making healthy choices, you can improve your quality of life and increase your chances of living a long and healthy life.


Remember, it's never too late to start making positive changes for your health and well-being.


Contact us to start your journey today


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References:

  1. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2018). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). How much physical activity do adults need?

  3. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2019). The Nutrition Source.

  4. National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

  5. American Heart Association. (2017). Four ways to deal with stress.

  6. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). The health benefits of strong relationships.

  7. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). How much water should you drink?

  8. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Do you need a daily supplement?

  9. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). Exercising to relax.

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