The long slow fade. You’ve probably seen it happen to someone you love. It refers to that last phase of a person’s life when their health steadily declines, often punctuated by a major health crisis every few years. The recovery from each of these events is slow, and never quite brings the person backs to their previous level of health. Death is the end result…but it doesn’t come quickly. The long slow fade is brutal and staggeringly expensive for the patient, their loved ones, and the healthcare system itself. And it often lasts over 20 years. The most tragic part about it is that it’s almost entirely preventable. The five healthy habits presented below will help you live ten years longer and avoid the curse of the long slow fade.
If someone told you that you could make a few super simple adjustments to your life that would make you healthier and more likely to live a longer life, would you want to know what they were? Most people would not turn information like this down, especially if it were science-backed.
According to a recent study published in Circulation, adopting these five healthy habits could add as much as ten years to your life:
Eating a healthy diet
Eating a healthy and clean diet is definitely connected to living a quality life. Research shows that the Mediterranean diet – which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats is an excellent choice. This also means staying away from sugar, processed food and loads of red meat.
Additional studies show that eating whole grain, fiber, fish, healthy fats and plant-based proteins promote longevity. A higher risk of chronic disease and death has been associated with eating processed snacks and meats, fried food and beverages sweetened with sugar.
Even making small changes to your diet and make a huge difference over time. One study found that people who ate 20 percent more healthy foods than they had at the beginning of the study, over 12 years, had a 17% reduction in risk of early death.
Regular workouts will benefit not only your physical health but also your mental health, according to researchers. Movement makes you feel better, look better and gives you energy. The federal physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week along with two weekly muscle strengthening sessions to reap all the health benefits.
Here is the good news, even short bouts of light physical activity including walking and cleaning can increase the lifespans of older men and women according to studies. It has even been found that moving instead of sitting for 30 minutes each day can reduce your risk of early death by 17%. This is especially important for people who sit for long periods of time at work. Simply getting up and walking every hour can really help and adds up. If you work an eight hour day – get up and walk at least every couple of hours for ten minutes or so.
Don’t worry if exercise has not been a habit – you can start anytime and reap benefits.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Obesity is closely linked to a number of chronic conditions including Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease – all which can hurt the quality and quantity of your life. One study found that obesity reduced life expectancy for a year and is responsible for 186,000 deaths per year.
Cigarette smoking is associated with lung cancer, heart attack, stroke along with mouth and throat cancers which makes it a significant threat to longevity. To reduce your risk, it is best to not smoke at all. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible to minimize health risks.
Drink only moderately
Moderate drinking has always been thought to be relatively harmless and possibly even healthy. Recently, the thought on this seems to have shifted towards a more cautious approach to alcohol consumption. Research is supporting the notion that people should seriously limit their alcohol consumption in order to avoid health problems and increase longevity. According to the federal dietary guidelines, moderate drinking means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
These are pretty simple rules to live by that could add ten years to your life… are you ready to implement them?
-The UpWellness Team