Preventive Health

How To Live Longer (3 Easy Ways)

August 22, 2011

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Research has been popping up lately in my news reader and inbox about things that add (or subtract) years to our lives. And some of it is fascinating. But let’s face it: a lot of the health advice out there requires a pretty serious level of commitment, energy, and effort. In contrast to all that, I plucked out a few lifestyle changes that would, I think, be pretty painless. And definitely worth the major gain of a longer life.

Go for a (short) walk. Add a mere 15 minutes of exercise to your day, every day, and add 3 years to your life. So says a study published in The Lancet last week. 15 minutes is so do-able, such a minimum amount, it’s hard to believe that there’s anybody who doesn’t have the time to squeeze this in.

Put down the remote already. A study last week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that, once you’re over the age of 25, every hour of TV you watch reduces your life expectancy by 22 minutes. Personally, I’m not hugely surprised by this one. Not only do I swear I can feel my neurons dying while I’m watching TV, I know that by sitting there I’m not really doing anything useful for my health or my body. Plus, unhealthy and excessive snacks tend to go hand in hand with TV viewing, don’t they? Some people may argue the “winding down” and “de-stressing” benefit of TV, that it’s how they relax, and I say sure. Fair enough. But not for several hours every evening. Maybe switch up some of that time for something else that’s equally relaxing: Have a bath. Read a great book. Go for a walk (see previous point).

Shop, shop, shop. A few months ago, this study in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that people over 65 who shopped every day had a 27% lower risk of death than the least frequent shoppers. Lots of theories on why this one is beneficial–the socializing, the exercise, taking care of needs like getting prescription medication and buying fresh, healthy food. Whatever the reason, I like it. It feels very harken-back-to-a-simpler-time when people would shop every day in their little village for their bread and veggies and chat with the neighbors.

If you’re looking for other easy health boosts, check out:

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