Our health is the most important thing we can have, but often it gets overlooked and taken for granted. We don't see the damage we've been causing it until sometimes it is too late. And at that point, we start relying on man-made pharmaceutical products and/or unpleasant treatments to mitigate any more damage. What many people don't realize, however, is that we can avoid that scenario altogether just by making small changes to our lives. And lots of small changes will eventually add up to a big one. Here are some simple steps that you can take to increase your longevity by 14 years, according to a recent study in the on-line peer reviewed journal PLos Medicine:
- Exercise. Most of us spend our workdays sitting or standing in one place. Combat your sedentary job with some movement. Walter Willett, MD of Harvard Medical School, said that doing something as simple as walking half an hour a day can have a dramatic impact on your health. Of course, the more you exercise the better.
- Drink moderately. The first is easy, but for some, moderation is not possible. If you consume more than a couple of drinks of alcohol a day, either cut back to one or two, or stop all together. However, if you can limit yourself to a single daily cocktail if you're a woman, two if you're a man. You'll help both your heart and mood. Drinking relaxes blood vessels. The best alcohol for longevity is red wine which contains the compound resveratrol. In tests at Harvard Medical School, the molecule increased the lifespan of every animal fed it, including human cells in vitro.
- Quit or don't start smoking. Taking one drag is almost like sucking on a tail pipe. Every puff is poison. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, so smokers who exercise hard are taking a big risk.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables. Americans only get half the recommended five servings a day of fruits and vegetable. The longevity in Okinawa, Japan rates among the highest of any city. It should be noted that the people there average seven servings daily.
- Get your annual check-ups. Yearly health and dental exams give your doctors a chance to catch problems before they become severe.