It’s a fact, you cannot do much about your genetics but you can make some healthy lifestyle choices which will influence the longevity of your life and reduce your risk of getting sick. There are seven important lifestyle factors which will have a positive impact on your health and therefore increase your chances of living to a ripe old age.
The seven lifestyle factors are:
1. A healthy balanced diet
When you eat healthily and make sure your body is getting the right nutrition, you are providing it with a sustaining energy. You are also lowering your risk of getting serious lifestyle diseases, like heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and cancers. A healthy and balanced diet will prevent you from becoming overweight and putting you at risk of getting any one of the above lifestyle diseases.
However, while you don’t want to gain too much unhealthy weight, you also shouldn’t follow fad diets. Three balanced meals a day with a healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack will ensure you remain energised while providing your body with good nutrition.
2. Drinking lots of water
Did you know we can survive around 3 weeks without food yet we cannot go without water for more than 7 days? What this is telling us is that water is vital. We should be drinking eight glasses of pure water a day in order to keep hydrated and maintain good health. (Juices, cooldrinks and other beverages do not count as water.) Water aids healthy digestion, it keeps our cells hydrated and functioning properly, and it flushes toxins out of our bodies. It is thanks to water that our bodies are able to absorb vital nutrients from food.
3. Exercising regularly
All it takes is about 20 to 30 minutes of regular exercise on a daily basis to keep us fit and healthy. Finding something physical to do and committing to it will help reduce your heart rate and therefore decrease the risk of
cardiovascular disease. Exercising also strengthens muscles and therefore increases bone density, reducing the risk of you getting osteoporosis in your old age. It improves lung capacity and aids proper breathing. A big plus to doing regular exercise is it improves your mental health, reduces stress, helps you sleep better and improves your mood.
4. Plenty of sleep
A full night’s sleep is vital as it gives your body some time to regenerate and recharge. You should be getting no less than seven hours of sleep per night because your body needs this amount of time to take care of its metabolic functions, like repairing damaged cells, recharging tired old cells and getting rid of toxins. Consistent lack of sleep can have quite a serious effect on your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
5. Not smoking
If you want to increase your lifespan and decrease your risk of getting serious illnesses, you should never start smoking and, if you are a smoker, you should quit now. Constant exposure to the nicotine in tobacco can cause coronary artery disease, peptic ulcer disease, esophageal reflux, hypertension, fetal illnesses, delayed wound healing, and cancers, and can significantly shorten your lifespan.
6. Reducing alcohol consumption
If you are consuming a moderate amount of alcohol – about one drink a day – you have nothing to worry about. However, drinking more than this can lead to health issues, such as a higher risk of heart disease, some cancers (liver cancer in particular), high blood pressure and stroke. Alcohol can be addictive and if you have a drinking problem you are at a higher risk of having accidents, being violent and even having suicidal thoughts.
7. Keep a check on mental and physical health
As a rule of thumb, you should see your doctor for checkups at least every two to three years if you are under 50, and once a year if you are 50 or over. It is a good idea to have an open and honest relationship with your doctor as he or she will help you navigate your health journey through life. Remember that most diseases can be cured if they are detected at an early stage. This applies to your mental health, too.
Lenmed offers highly qualified doctors who are fully equipped to give you a full health assessment. Find a doctor in your area easily on our website.
For more information please contact:
John Nderitu, Clinical Dietician/Diabetes Educator
BSc Food Nutrition & Dietetics (Egert-Ke), MA Medical Sociology (UoN-Ke), PG Diploma in Diabetes (USW-UK)
Bokamoso Private Hospital
Telephone: +26 7 369 4784
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis.