Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand for a very long time, you know that your lifestyle greatly impacts how soon you’re going to kick the bucket. By lifestyle, I mean the choices you make related to your fitness, nutrition and weight, and of course whether or not you smoke.
So what choices are you making? Do you want to live as many years as you can? Are you willing to give up seeing your kids get married, or meet your grandchildren?
Death is inevitable, but premature death can be prevented. The fact is we’ve known for decades that the ‘actual’ causes of premature death are not the diseases that cause death, but the choices that cause those diseases. If you kick the bucket because of heart disease, being overweight, because you have diabetes or many forms of cancer, accept the fact that it’s choices you made, and could have avoided. Why? The truth is, lifestyle choices including smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, unhealthy diets and being overweight are the major contributors to early death.
So what choices can you make that will ensure you live as long as you should?
You don’t have to go the gym, although that’s highly recommended. You do have to get out and move your body on a regular basis. The minimum regular exercise you should be making is 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 times per week. That’s as simple as going for a 30-minute walk 5 times a week. If you’re not doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week, ask yourself: what’s in the way of making that happen?
Exercise reduces your risk of heart attack by 30%.
With exercise, it’s true that “if a little is good, more is better.” If you’re walking 30 minutes per day, that’s great, but walking an hour is better. If you have the option to walk on a hilly route rather than a flat route, take the hills. It’s also a great idea to sprint from time to time to get your heart rate up.
Another option, as stated earlier, is to go to the gym and work out with weights at least 2-3 times per week. Resistance training is the only type of exercise proven to significantly slow
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or even reverse the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered unavoidable parts of aging. If you can’t bring yourself to go to the gym, then order a pair of adjustable dumbbells, and use them at home.
Eating a healthy diet keeps you physically and mentally fit. Big surprise, huh? And when you look good, you feel good, so your self-confidence improves so you’re more outgoing. On the flip side, unhealthy food choices lead to obesity and illness, and you don’t look as good, so your self-confidence goes down, and your energy decreases.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet prevents weight gain, and lowers your risk for weight related diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and depression.
The formula for eating right is well known: eat fresh, whole foods, with most your food intake coming from fruits and vegetables. By whole foods, I mean avoid processed foods, including sodas (both regular and diet), processed grains (for example, switch from white bread to whole grain bread), and refined sugar. A simple rule of thumb is that if the food wasn’t available 200 years ago, you shouldn’t be eating it now.
Control your weight.
If you’re exercising and eating right, then controlling your weight should follow naturally. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if your goal is healthy, sustainable weight loss, you need to eliminate all refined sugar / corn syrup and refined carbs, including white breads, pasta, cookies, any processed snacks, chips, pretzels, cookies etc. as well as starchy vegetables like corn or potatoes. Then focus on eating healthy fats, which make weight loss comfortable. The right types of foods include avocados, olive oil, nuts, full-fat dairy, nuts and nut butters, and dark chocolate. Also eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, whole grains, beans and other whole foods.
This approach will help your hunger subside, as healthy fats make weight loss comfortable by increasing your sense of fullness and helping your hunger subside. Your goal is to replace unhealthy carbohydrates with healthy fats.
Additionally, get enough sleep and drink plenty of water.
If all that sounds like too much to handle, than just work at it a bit at a time. Whatever habits you have now are the result of many small decisions you’ve made during your life. And let’s face it, if you have to change a lot in order to ensure that you’ll live a long and healthy life, then it’s probably going to be easier for you to start by changing little habits.
If you want to successfully adopt the habits that will lead to a long and healthy life, then focus on your habits and routines. The most common mistake that people make in changing habits is hoping for an overnight success, rather than focusing on their habits and routines.
Do it now. Change a habit or two today. Start by making the decision to adopt a lifestyle that will ensure you live a long and healthy life. Think about what you have to live for. Do you want to meet your grandchildren? Do you want to walk your daughter down the isle? Isn’t that worth changing a few habits?