Do you ever sit and wonder how the life choices you’ve made have affected your health and how long you might live? Or even how your surroundings have impacted on your life expectancy? I do. It’s something I find myself thinking about a lot, especially as I get older. I mean, we only get one body and ideally I’d like it to last me for a very long time, but I’m all too aware of the abuse it’s endured over the years and I do worry about how those habits and choices have affected my health.
When I was sent the link for SunLife’s Death Clock (i’m not particularly keen on the name but it’s really not as morbid as it sounds), I thought I’d give it a try for a bit of fun. The online tool asks for your age, gender and location and then uses that information, combined with a series of questions relating to your lifestyle, to calculate your life expectancy. According to the ‘Death Clock’ my life expectancy is 81 years old which seems ok(ish).
I mean, as much as the tool is just a bit of fun, it does make you stop and reassess your lifestyle choices.I get the feeling my life expectancy would increase if i owned a pet, cut down on takeaways and visited the sea more often.
Living healthy is not complicated. That, perhaps, is one of the biggest misconceptions about having a healthier lifestyle. It is not complicated. It is simply about being aware. Though I am by no means perfect, I have started to develop a healthier lifestyle by creating healthy habits.
If you are looking for ways to achieve a healthier balance or for changes you can make in order to live a happier, fuller, longer life then you may want to check out my 10 steps to a healthier lifestyle below:
1. Exercise more
Exercise is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity. It keeps joints, tendons and ligaments flexible, and contributes to mental well-being by helping treat depression, relive stress and anxiety. Exercise also aids better sleep. Even if you are pushed for time, exercise could be gained simply by walking up stairs rather than taking the lift, or even try walking or cycling on shorter journeys rather than taking the car.
2. Walk regularly
Aerobic exercise, including something as uncomplicated and low-impact as walking, is associated with a variety of benefits for the body and the brain, including a reduced risk of chronic diseases, anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing effects. Aim for a total of about 30 minutes of brisk walking every day.
3. Drink more water
Water is key when staying healthy and hydrated, so make sure you keep a bottle with you at all times and drink at least 2litres a day.
4. Make healthier diet choices
Studies show that a ‘primal’ diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as meat, fish and eggs, is best for weight control and improvement in risk markers for illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.
5. Get enough sleep
Sleep affects you more than you would think, so try not to pull too many late nighters. Getting a bad night’s sleep not only changes your mood negatively, but also changes your concentration levels and makes your skin worse.
6. Disconnect from technology
A number of studies indicate that spending too much time on your digital devices can disrupt sleep. Other research links increased mobile phone use to worsened physical fitness and your number of Facebook friends to your stress levels. So go ahead and log off whenever you can—you’ll be better off for it.
7. Practice mindfulness
There are times when we all want to zone out. But actual “mindfulness” has been associated with lower levels of stress, extra brainpower, and other positive side effects.
8. Get a pet
Owning a pet has a surprising amount of health benefits for the owner. Animals are known to reduce anxiety both from the actual physical comfort from stroking them, but also because they are a distraction and something pleasant to focus on. They are loyal companions and good friends.
9. Laugh every day
Laughter boosts the immune system, slashes stress hormones and stimulates killer T-cells, which fight cancer.
10. Practice random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness are good for givers and receivers alike. It could be a quick call or text to someone you care about or have lost touch with, or showing a fellow motorist some consideration, or giving up your seat on a train or bus, or buying someone lunch or giving a spontaneous bunch of flowers.