If you were to ask someone who’s over 100 about the secrets to a long and healthy life, you’re likely to get a range of different answers. However, I can guarantee that they won’t mention drugs, supplements and fad diets. I’m sure you’ve discovered by now that there’s a lot more to maintaining our health than targeting specific symptoms and going for regular check-ups with physicians. If you’re afraid that you’ve become too wrapped up in nutritionist’s columns and hitting the gym often enough, here’s a list of some simple ways to ensure you stay happier and healthier for longer.
Go to the Right Professionals
It’s pretty common for most of us to assume that a doctor, dentist, or other medical professional is great at what they do simply because they have the title of “Dr” before their name. Obviously, these people have to go through a lot of education and on-the-job training to get where they are. However, at the end of the day, they’re normal people in normal jobs, and they’re just as capable of mistakes as you or me. If your doctor, dentist, therapist or anything else doesn’t seem to value your input, or seems to be a little blasé about the issues that really concern you, it may be time to seek out another set of medical professionals. Word of mouth referrals are often the best way to find medical professionals who really deliver what you want, so ask some of your friends and family about their experiences. Aside from that, directories such as http://www.dentist.24hourly.com can also point you in the right direction.
There are very few things that can be done to excess and still be healthy. Laughing is one of them. I’m sure you’ll agree that a full, uncontrollable belly laugh feels great. It’s only recently that clinical studies have been looking into the measurable health benefits of laughter, and discovering that belly laughs not only feel good, but are good. Raucous laughter has been found to expand blood vessels and release endorphins, as well as activating nitric oxide in the inner linings of our veins and arteries, promoting vascular health. If you want a long and healthy life, it may be time to start watching more comedy!
Be Artful in your Old Age
This is one mainly for baby boomers. When you’ve got more time on your hands in retirement, you may get the sudden urge to dig out your old paint pallet or guitar that you haven’t touched since your first kid. Getting back into an old creative hobby is not only great fun, but doubles as a kind of health insurance! A lot of medical research has shown that seniors who stay engaged in things like painting, playing an instrument, or creative writing are happier and healthier than those who don’t. They have higher concentrations of endorphins, and their immune systems are notably strong compared to others in their age group. It isn’t clear whether these effects are from a greater sense of personal growth or simply being more socially engaged. One thing’s for sure though: the body reacts well to art! This is why if you are an aspiring writer, it is important to remember that you are never too old to finally get published. A good friend of mine is a mature lady and has recently had her first novel published. It feels like just yesterday she was searching online for formatting advice to get her manuscript ready for her literary agent, and now all her hard work has paid off. I cannot wait to read her debut novel as soon as my copy arrives!
Find a Friendlier Workplace
When you’re looking around for a new job, it can be easy to keep focussed on the salary and benefits you’re getting. However, if you want a job that’s going to keep your health in the best possible condition, you need to be looking past that. Researchers in Israel have found that people who are friendly with their colleagues, and work in a relaxed, supportive environment have greater life expectancies. Strangely, your relationship with your boss seems to have no effect on how long you’ll live. The next time you go for an interview, put the salary to one side and try to get a feel for the office culture. If you end up in a job where you wake up in the mornings and dread seeing this or that person, it can be hugely detrimental to your health.
Get a Massage
Like laughter, massages don’t just feel good, they really are good. Professional massage therapy has been proven to lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and reduce concentrations of stress hormones. When you have less stress hormones, it increases your body’s white blood cell count. Those are the things which ward off harmful bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. A single massage session causes all kinds of beneficial changes in your body, so take this as an excuse to pamper yourself every now and then! Massages from our partners are also great for our mind, body, relationship and of course our wallet!
Get Your Fill of Carotenoids
Looking good and feeling good, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, often go hand in hand with each other. Recent evidence has shown that fruits and vegetables, aside from all the health benefits we all know about, can give your skin a healthy, youthful glow. Carotenoid-rich fruits and veggies in particular, such as broccoli, kale, tomatoes and peaches, have been found to give people’s skin a richer, healthier tone, making you look and feel more attractive. Make sure you’re getting your fill – I guarantee you’ll notice the results!
Talk to Everyone
People have also been found to have better overall health when they live in a close-knit local community. A study which stretched over 50 years in Roseto, Pennsylvania, a small community of mainly Italian-Americans, saw the lowest rates of heart disease in the whole country. Of course, the good times couldn’t last forever, and when the town became more sub-urban in the 60s, there was an immediate spike in health problems. However, various other studies in housing co-ops and communes have shown that people in these tight-knit communities enjoy better emotional and physical wellbeing. We’re social animals, and even if you consider yourself something of an introvert, having close relationships with the people in your community is good for your health.
That’s right – not only should you be laughing more and getting more massages, you should also be lying in a little more often! You may be a very busy person, and your daily schedule may be a little squeezed for getting some more zeds. However, it’s been found that people who sleep less tend to crave more carbs, leading to a greater risk of weight problems. If you know you’re not getting your eight hours, and you find yourself craving some kind of snack at odd times in the day, you can cure this with a better night’s sleep.
Cut Out Toxic Substances in Your Home
Toxic substances? In your home? In all likelihood, yes. The average American household is full to the brim with all kinds of poisonous substances, mainly in cleaning products. Fortunately, various businesses are now taking steps to circumvent this massive danger. There are various alternatives for toxic products such as bleach. A simple composition of vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda has been found to be extremely effective at getting rid of mold and bacteria, for instance. Of course, no one’s ever died from simply using conventional cleaning products, at least not in the last century or so. However, keeping your exposure to poisonous or harmful substances to a minimum is never a bad thing! Start looking for some home-made and natural alternatives to the poisons in your home.
I hope this list leads you onto a happier, healthier life for the road ahead. Though there are certain things we can’t foresee, if preserving your health isn’t worthwhile then I don’t know what is!