It Is Never Too Late To Adopt Healthy Habits

woman inside a somadome

The findings of a new longevity study show that healthy lifestyle habits can add up to six years to a person’s life, even if the habits are adopted in middle or older age. The study which took place across 21 years, monitored 49,000 Japanese men and women aged between 40-80 to assess how health habits and behaviours affected their life expectancy. During the study, eight lifestyle factors were assessed: consumption of fruit, fish and milk, walking and/or sports participation, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption and sleep duration.

Optimal Living

Middle-aged participants (aged 40) that adopted seven or eight of the habits saw a lifetime gain of up to six years. Adopting healthy lifestyle was associated with lifetime gain, even in individuals aged 80 years or more. If one considers that eliminating all cancer would improve the average lifespan by just 3 years, one can see how powerful these simple habits are in giving us 6 extra years of healthy life. A few key habits had a significant impact on life expectancy:

  • An alcohol intake of less than one pint or one medium-sized wine glass per day = a lifetime gain of 3.5yrs
  • Never having smoked = lifetime gain of 3.8yrs
  • Maintaining a healthy body composition (21–25 kg/m2) = lifetime gain of 1.5yrs
  • Sleeping 7 hours a night = lifetime gain of 1.5yrs

One Step At A Time

The study shows that it is never too late to optimise your health and wellness habits. Small changes practised consistently over time can lead to massive shifts in your health. These tips will motivate you to get started now.
Make sleep a priority: Sleep is the foundation of every aspect of our health and well-being, but it is all too often overlooked and deprioritised. It is when your body repairs, restores, maintains and detoxifies itself. To optimise your sleep – take time to destress and slow down before bedtime (you can do some stretching or practice breathwork), wear blue light blockers in the evening, switch off electronics at least an hour before you go to sleep and keep your bedroom cool and dark.

Move your body throughout the day: We all know that aerobic exercise benefits cardiovascular health, but even slow and mindful practices like yoga and tai chi benefit our body through decreases in blood pressure, body mass index and even cholesterol. Science is also showing additional physical benefits from movement, ranging from improving your metabolism, your sleep, your immunity, your stress response, and the overall balance in your life.

Take care of your mind: Meditation comes with many benefits including boosting mood, increasing energy, and tempering stress. Being more mindful, calm, and less stressed can also lead to you becoming more aware and intentional with regard to your daily habits, such as helping you make better choices around the consumption of sugar, alcohol and cigarettes.

Are you keen to cultivate a meditation practice? Come into our centre and try a free session in our Somadome meditation pod.

Somadome
Expand Health Somadome

This is a reminder that the ordinary, often-overlooked choices we make each day can have enormous effects on how we age. Value sleep, enjoy movement, and find the time to be still.

This article is from Expand Health. We are very excited to have partnered with Expand Health. Over the next month, they will be taking over the entire downstairs area of the IHA clinic. Together we have set up what we believe is South Africa’s first comprehensive Lifestyle Medicine centre. This has health machines that vary from a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to infrared lights. We would love you to come in for a tour of what we offer and a free trial of one of these machines that are designed to reduce inflammation and improve health. We believe that Lifestyle medicine centres like this will become key drives of optimal health in the future.

Please drop in or book your tour on 021 4342564.

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