A Healthy Balance: Simple Strategies to Live Longer and Better, Too

Gravity and time—these are two of the fundamental properties of the universe which are enemies of our plans to live forever. But we can, up to a point, slow down their effects. Modern medicine and epidemiology have shown that lifestyle changes can make a significant difference to our chances of living longer and healthier lives.

Cut Back on the Poison

One of the simplest, yet most difficult, things we can do is to cut back the things that are destroying our cells from within.

There are plenty of warnings which come and go, but it pays to keep things simple, and just cut those things that research has conclusively shown to be dangerous: above all smoking and excessive alcohol.

We have all heard of people who smoked 40 a day and lived to 100, but we are talking about improving the odds in your favor, and that means not smoking!

The science is still unclear about the risks of moderate drinking, but most research indicates that as soon as men start to drink more than two standard drinks a day (one for women), health will deteriorate.

Cut Back on the Worrying

It’s easier said than done, but a positive and optimistic outlook on life is a great help. One of the richest soils for worry is loneliness, so do as much as you can to boost your social interaction with others. The more friends you have around you, the better your chances of being steered away from anxieties you can do nothing about.

If you worry about dying, support is available, not only from religious leaders but also from those who deal with the practical aspects of death. For instance, in California a burial planning company called InvoCare can help to set your mind at rest on bothering details.

Boost the Exercise

Healthy exercise will greatly increase your chances of living longer and enjoying to the full the years you have left. What counts as healthy exercise depends on your age and starting fitness level. Aim for thirty minutes of exercise that leaves you feeling warm and slightly out of breath at least five days a week.

Vigorous exercise can give greater benefits in the same time, but if you are in doubt about your fitness get medical advice before engaging in anything too strenuous.

Review Your Diet

A healthy diet is generally agreed to be an important ingredient in a healthy life. Try not to be swayed by the latest fad—it is easier and wiser to stick to a few simple and well-tried principles, like:

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Eat less sugar and salt
  • Eat more whole grains

Live Long, Live Well

The saying ‘moderation in all things,’ attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, is a good motto. Nobody wants to spend extra years not doing the things they love, and doing things they hate. But small changes in lifestyle and habits can make the later years more enjoyable as well as longer.

Sophia Turnbull has worked as an elder care assistant for a few years now. She enjoys forming bonds with the ladies in her care and uses her free time to write elder care articles.