We all heard the great birthday greeting that wishes you to live long and be a happy 100 year old person one day. Yet few people get to experience a 3-digit-age birthday. Those who do might be blessed with awesome genes, but most of them are also active in living the best life they can.
The truth is, you have no control over your genes or possible accidents, and some diseases will come your way even if you do everything by the book. There are no guarantees in life.
However, there are actions you can take today and keep taking throughout your life to ensure you give yourself the absolute best chance to lead a long, healthy journey here on Earth. Following are a few of these suggestions.
Challenge Your Brain
The brain is the most important organ in our body. Its main job is to process physical, mental and emotional information. Many people believe the brain’s function declines with age, which isn’t completely untrue, yet there are nonetheless actions we can take to strengthen our brain’s functioning.
Even if our ability to affect our brain is limited, we can change and enhance it. Learning new things, playing memory games, reading complex books and otherwise challenging our brain will keep it sharp. Keeping your brain sharp can help it function well for a longer period of time.
Whether you walk, run, dance, climb mountains, ride horses, lift weights or do regular gardening, you’re helping your body get stronger and healthier, so it can serve you longer.
Different forms of exercise can improve your cardiovascular system, support your lung functioning and breathing, reduce blood pressure, improve your balance and expand your coordination abilities, among other benefits.
Exercise will help you get to know your body better. You’ll be able to listen to what it says, know when it needs a break and when you can challenge it some more. This, combined with the health benefits that come with staying physically active, will help you avoid injuries and illnesses.
Healthy nutrition is your body’s fuel. It helps all the systems inside the body, brain included, to function better and stay healthy for longer.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to do some research and ensure that each time you go to the grocery store, you go prepared and return with healthy ingredients. Learn to read nutrition labels and make it a habit to find out what’s really hiding in the food you buy. Learn how to cook so you can avoid processed food.
In addition, verify that you don’t eat the same food every day, and that you do eat different food groups. Eat breakfast and take healthy snacks with you, to have something useful to chew if you feel the need between meals. Eating several small meals throughout the day will be more beneficial to some people than 3 big meals.
Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol drinking, while putting an emphasis on drinking 8 glasses of clean water each day, will support your body to live longer so you can discover even more tasty foods.
Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep every night, so it’s not surprising that being awake for 24 hours straight gets your body in the same condition as being under so much alcoholic influence, it’s not legal for you to drive.
That alone can cause accidents, which could lower the number of years you get to enjoy this planet.
But it’s more than that. Constant sleep deprivation will take years off life because it affects your brain functioning. It hurts your memory abilities and the efficiency in which you can learn and retain new knowledge.
Sleep deprivation also hurts your immune system and increases blood pressure and your chance of getting a heart attack, among others.
Your body needs sleep so that it can serve you better every day, and so that it can serve you for the long run.
Take Care of Your Emotional Health
Living longer is not only affected by your physical condition, if for no other reason than the fact that your physical condition is influenced by your emotional and mental state.
For example, stress, depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder can cause you to die sooner rather than later, so oppressing your feelings is not a good idea. Similarly, loneliness puts you at greater risk for heart disease.
Therefore, building strong social networks and support systems is vital for a longer, healthier life. It will also make you happier, as you’ll understand you’re not the only one facing adversity and you’ll find it easier to have fun.
Share your feelings and express yourself, choose a career that fulfills you, create a schedule that empowers you – and don’t forget to take vacations, because they, too, reduce the chance of heart disease. Remaining optimistic also helps.
Mostly, though, you need to learn tools and skills that will help you become your own biggest advocate. Develop your self esteem and sense of worth so you can invest and engage in your life, and so you can take all the actions listed in this article. You won’t only live a longer, healthier life. You’ll live a full, joyful life, too.
Action time! Write one action in the comments that you can take within the 24 hours toward living a long, healthy life.