By Contributing Editor Kristina Strain
Even if you don’t want to live to be one hundred, you can improve the quality of your life by adopting healthy habits.
Shoot for centenarian status with the guidelines listed below. From healthy eating habits to healthy sleeping habits, this article will cover all aspects of wellness and ensure you live a long and healthy life.
Ten Secrets to Longevity
1. Eat Healthy. Skip the fad diets and focus on eating things that are truly good for you: whole grains, green vegetables, and lean protein. Drinking green tea is a great way to get your daily dose of antioxidants. Rather than be concerned with a hard-and-fast list of what you should and shouldn’t eat, simply make a commitment to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of processed foods you consume. Remember to compost the leftovers, too!
2. Ditch the caffeine. Sure, it’s stimulating and refreshing, but it works its magic by convincing your body that it’s under stress. It raises heart rate and blood pressure. It leads to jitters. Consider reducing or limiting your caffeine intake with a detox diet.
3. Find good fats. Trans-fats should be avoided, and limiting dairy and animal fats is a good first step to lowering cholesterol. But eliminating fat completely is a no-no– fat is essential to health. Finding sources of good fats is important. Places to look include nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Flaxseed is a good source of healthy fat.
4. Drink lots of water. Water is critical to your body’s healthy function. Ensuring you’re well-hydrated can improve skin and hair, balance your eating habits, and make you less susceptible to sickness.
5. Don’t over-indulge. This goes for both healthy and un-healthy behaviors. Too much of anything can make you grouchy. Drink alcohol in moderation, don’t plow through an entire bag of chips in one sitting, and know when it’s time to take a time-out from kelp juice and go eat a steak. The key, I’ve found, is recognizing the difference between cravings and impulses. Pay attention to cravings; ignore impulses.
6. Find Community. The internet and rise of electronic media has made us increasingly isolated. We’re social animals, however. Community is our native state. Engage with people, reach out to your neighbors. I read recently about someone’s New Year’s Resolution to pay a stranger a compliment every single day. Start small, and you’ll be the center of a thriving community in no time.
7. Eat out less and bring lunch to work. Eating out tends to lead to less healthy, fatty and impulsive eating. By eating out less you’ll find that you tend to eat better and can then be more thoughtful when you do eat out. Tandem to rule #1, bringing lunch to work makes it a whole lot easier to avoid those processed foods. Pack yourself a nutritious treat everyday to make it easier to resist the office vending machine.
8. Get Plenty of Sleep for your Body and Rest your Mind. Turn off the lights, the tv, the phones, and ensure you get a full eight hours of shut-eye each night. Consider a daily meditation practice by sitting quietly for 20 minutes in the morning and evening. By clearing your head of the busy noise of the mind you’ll find you have great clarity throughout your day. There are great books and iPhone apps to get started with a daily meditation practice and after doing it for a few months, you’ll find you can’t believe you have lived without it. In addition, we have natural, organic bedding available in our shop.
9. Get Moving. Many of us, I feel, are daunted by the recommended daily amount of exercise they say we should all be getting. It fluctuates near-weekly. One day, they say running is the way to go, the next week, walking is all the rage. The bottom line is, every little bit helps. If you change a few sedentary habits for more active ones each week, you’ll benefit yourself in the long-run. Trade a Sunday drive for a Sunday stroll. Play hide and seek with your kids. Finding a group sport (basketball, soccer, volleyball) is a great way to exercise because it’s fun, social and gives an incentive to push yourself. If you find it hard to join a group, put your favorite tunes on your i-Pod and treat yourself to an hour of aerobic vacuuming. Also, consider finding a yoga class or download a yoga iphone app. Yoga is a wonderful way to get exercise, improve your flexibility and clear your head. Think creatively and you’ll find a way to exercise which will keep you coming back!
10. Make Changes Gradually. Don’t expect to trade a sedentary lifestyle laden with red meats, processed foods, and lots of video game-watching for a glass of kelp juice and Pilates overnight. Make small, subtle, substitutions in your daily routine, switching out the most unhealthy culprits for slightly more-healthy behaviors. Over time, up the ante. Your body will thank you!