Written by Stannah
“Healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by a decade or more.”
Harvard School of Public Health
In their latest single, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones sings Don’t get angry with me. That’s all well and good, except for the remarkable fact that Mick Jagger recently turned 80, the band celebrated six decades in the music industry last year, having produced over 80 albums and countless singles, and when we witness Jagger’s boundless energy during a Stones concert, we’re left wondering “where on earth does he find the energy?”
It’s true that Mick Jagger was once known for his rather unhealthy habits. But in the second half of his life, he distanced himself from anything harmful to his well-being. He continued to pursue his passion for music, became an active philanthropist, maintains a healthy diet, and exercises regularly.
Besides the personal choices of this extraordinary great-grandfather, are there habits that can extend our lives and let us enjoy this journey for as long as possible?
The answer is yes!
7 habits to keep you feeling your best
Scientific research shows that people who practise healthy habits from age 50 live over a decade longer than those who practise none of them. Here are 7 habits you can embrace today to live a longer, healthier life.
1. Move as much as possible
The longest-living people in the world have active lifestyles, even if they don’t exercise in the traditional sense. They engage in outdoor work, tend to gardens or vegetable patches, and take leisurely strolls. These moderate-intensity activities are a great way to stay fit and healthy.
2. Mediterranean diet: embrace it fully
A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Supplements can also be beneficial, but discuss it with your doctor before taking any.
3. Keep a healthy weight
Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, among others. Instead of drastic restrictions, try the hara hachi bu, the rule of the Okinawans in Japan: eat until you are 80% full.
4. Avoid smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death. It increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. If you smoke, quit today. You’ll find that even your food tastes better.
5. Limit your alcohol intake
The popular belief that red wine is good for the heart is a myth. Scientific studies have shown that alcohol can increase the risk of heart disease. It’s better to get antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.
6. Get enough sleep
Sleeping well improves concentration, memory, and strengthens the neural connections associated with learning processes. Additionally, during the REM phase, our brains process the emotional experiences of the day, helping to stabilise our mood.
7. Nurture your relationships
Be kind, especially to yourself, and those around you will benefit too. Studies of seniors in “blue zones” reveal that deep family bonds help them live longer by preventing health issues such as chronic depression and social isolation.
Between saying and doing…
Self-care means loving yourself and having regular check-ups with your doctor. Small changes to your daily routine can also make a big difference to your physical and emotional well-being. Here are some tips to consider:
- Start small and go slow. Don’t try to change everything at once. Pick one habit to focus on at a time, and add more as you feel comfortable.
- Share it with a friend. Having someone to share your successes with makes the journey more enjoyable.
- Be kind to yourself. We are often our own worst critics. Remember to celebrate your progress, no matter how small it may seem.
Dear reader, change takes effort, but so does everything worthwhile in life. The good news is you can start today, whether it’s going for a walk or attending the next Stones concert! Start slow, but start now.
- Harvard School of Public Health, Healthy lifestyle habits
- Harvard School of Public Health, Diet Review: Mediterranean Diet
- Dan Buettner, Hara Hachi Bu: Enjoy Food and Lose Weight With This Simple Japanese Phrase
- Wynne Armand, MD, Harvard Medical School, What’s the best way to quit smoking?
- Harvard School of Public Health, Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits
- Ruairi Robertson, PhD. Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI., Why People in “Blue Zones” Live Longer Than the Rest of the World
- Matthew Solan. Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD. Harvard Medical School. How much sleep do you actually need?