A recent study proved what we all know: people with healthy habits live longer.
According to a Cambridge University Study, people who adopt four healthy habits live 14 years longer than those who don’t. Those who don’t smoke, eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, exercise regularly, and enjoy alcohol in moderation, avoid heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and extend their lives. Yet, most of us have a hard time fitting healthy habits into our busy lives.
Here are some tips to get you on the path to a longer life:
Do it by the handful.
Think of a serving of fruits or vegetables as a handful. Some large apples and oranges count as two or even three servings. A large salad could count as three or four servings. According to registered dietitian Jill Fleming, “A salad and a smoothie per day is all you really need.”
Think outside the gym.
Regular exercise doesn’t require hours at the fitness center. You simply need to be active for the equivalent of 30 minutes each day. Here are some ideas:
- Use your steps: Taking 10,000 steps per day is the equivalent of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. A pedometer is a great tool to keep track; however, don’t limit your steps to walking. Wiggling your hips while standing in line at the grocery store, pacing while on the phone, or dancing in the kitchen while making dinner are great ways to increase your steps.
- Use your chores: Simple household chores such as vacuuming, sweeping, and washing dishes are exercise. An hour of house-cleaning is equivalent to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.
- Use chunks: Breaking your activity into 10 or 15 minute chunks may be more convenient on busy days and is a great tool to use while traveling as well. If you can walk 15 minutes to your gate and 15 minutes to baggage claim when you reach your destination, you’ve done well for yourself that day.
Enjoy a glass of wine.
Science is still exploring the benefits of alcohol, especially red wine. Relaxing with a glass of wine can reduce your stress level, however a recent study indicates it may help your body reduce the impact of fatty foods as well. Too much alcohol is, of course, detrimental to your health, but imbibing in moderation (one drink per day) is a very healthy habit.
Reap the benefits of being smoke-free.
Quitting smoking is the best gift you can give your body and according to an article in the latest Heart Insight Magazine the benefits from quitting start the day you stop.
- The first day your circulation improves and your blood pressure and heart rate begins to drop.
- Within a few days breathing will ease and food will taste and smell better.
- In a few months your lungs will function up to 30 percent better.
- In a year your risk of heart attack is cut in half.
The article also offered the following resources to quit:
CNN’s Article: “How four women quit smoking — and you can too“
American Heart Association’s Quit Smoking Information
Freedom From Smoking
American Cancer Society
Healthy habits can make you feel better now — and in the future!
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.