The top nine healthy habits of long-lasting persons derive insights from studies and observations that have questioned why some people live very long healthy lives. Not underestimating the impact of genetic endowment and environmental influence, the overwhelming evidence seems to support the choices we make or fail to execute.
Scientists now understand that stress levels, diets, sleep, exercise and even the quality of relationships all have profound impacts on the activity of our genes, and appreciable knowledge of these factors is common among healthy people.
So we’re going to explore some of the most laudable healthy habits and see if you can break them down, implement them in your life so that you can be healthier and hopefully live longer.
1. KEEP MOVING
It’s well accepted that the healthiest people on the planet, even from centuries past, move a lot. At least thirty minutes of walking is recommended daily to stay healthy and fit. The benefits of regular physical activity encompass the psychological to the physiological as well, it is a healthy habit and healthy life hack that can have a profound impact on your quality of life.
The quality of your friendships can increase just by moving around for 30 minutes a day because it augments the physiology of the neurons in the brain. I would suggest this 30 minutes of movement is a bare minimum and if that bare minimum is a struggle, ensure it is a venture you relish, like a sporting activity.
If you like lifting weights, then do it. If you like running then, by all means, practice other forms of running like recovery run, long slow distance and high intensity running.
High intensity running, in particular, is a favourite of professional athletes because it improves performance more than moderate intensity training. An alternative to high-intensity training is to initiate hill sprints, which consists of warming up at a tempo, then run as hard as you can up a steep slope or hill for 30 seconds.
Walk or jog back down for 5-7 minutes, recover and sprint again. Do these in repeated bouts until you get fitter and your endurance level reaches a higher threshold.
Furthermore, aerobic exercise has been to proven to activate the genes responsible for healthy longevity. Additionally, this type of exercise uniquely targets the gene that codes for BNDF, known as the neurogenesis gene.
In 2011 some researchers found larger hippocampi gyri and elevated levels of BDNF in elderly men and women assigned to a walking program, compared to the other group of participants in the experiment who were only subjected to a stretching program. This stretchers had lost significant brain volume, normal cerebral atrophy and performed poorly with cognitive tests.
2. PREPARE HEALTHY FOODS.
I love making smoothie bowls, any kind of other buddha bowl or any nice salad. I can then Instagram it, which I like as well. Make smoothies with a nutrient boost that you don’t even have to taste.
So throw in some spinach, some kale, chia seeds, flax seeds, and a lot of omegas, minerals, and vitamins to nourish your body.
For example, it’s preferable to eat 200 calories of an apple than 100 calories of a Twix bar because the ingredients and the nutrients of the apple will do more for you even though its caloric content exceeds that of the Twix bar.
3. MAKE WELL-INFORMED HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES.
Wellness-inclined persons educate themselves about the food that they put in their body. This is something that most people struggle with because of a lot of myths and unreliable information.
Healthy living requires that you keep enriching your knowledge about macronutrients, calories and even specialized domains like how to build muscle, how to lose weight and their connection with a healthy habit.
4. HEALTHY PEOPLE HAVE MEAL PLANS
A meal plan isn’t something that I’ve really implemented in my life but I try to keep to a schedule. This entails having certain meals that I adhere to during the day. I know these are healthy enough as I ensure they don’t harbour any major carcinogens. I eat healthy meals throughout the day and feel great afterwards.
Adopting a lifestyle consisting of healthy meal plans is a habit that many healthy people have consistently practised.
5. CUT DOWN SUGAR & LIVE LONGER
A group of researchers in 2005 found a very disturbing correlation between the structural changes in the brain and the waist-to-hip ratios of more than 100 participants in a focused research group.
They discovered that the larger a person’s waistline or belly, the smaller their hippocampus, the region in the brain that plays a crucial role in memory. A small hippocampus translates to impaired memory processing.
Sugar is now acclaimed as public enemy No.1 by nutritionists and allied health professionals. You must be probably aware that consuming sugar won’t shrink your waistline. What you fail to realize is how dangerous sugar is your entire body, including the brain and the internal organs.
Fructose, the sweetest of all sugars, is the most fattening carbohydrate according to biochemists. Too much sugar, especially fructose found naturally in honey and fruits stimulate hyperinsulinemia, a precursor to the worst type of fat in the body: visceral fat.This type of fat further leads to insulin resistance and the vicious circle continues.
This visceral fat wrapped around the internal organs is the most pernicious to your health. It produces inflammatory chemicals that harm the brain and diminish cognitive function.
6. STAY HYDRATED
It’s recommended to drink at least 67 ounces of water daily to stay hydrated. I have carried around two-liters of water daily for a while now, not in one bulk though but staggered in little containers over a 24hr period. For some people, that’s a ton of water especially, if you’re used to drinking pop or soda in the day.
When I was little I drank a lot of tea which made switching from tea to water an uphill task. Of course, this liberal intake of water results in frequent urination but I wake with a brighter mood.
7. GET GOOD SUNLIGHT
While we must guide against excessive exposure to sunlight because of the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation to the skin and eyes, striking the right balance is key to optimum health. Variations of sunlight and darkness trigger the release of certain hormones like serotonin which boost our mood. Serotonin helps us feel calm and focused.
With poor sunlight exposure, serotonin levels dip, and low levels of serotonin are associated with mood swing, seasonal affective disorders, and manic-depressive disorders.
Melatonin triggered by darker light, and hence potentiated at night, initiates the sleepy mood that sends us to sleep easily at night.
Sleep is essential to prevent brain atrophy, to our minds sharp and maintain a healthy body. Despite the impacts of information overload from nutrition to health, take this: sleep more.
Sleep play important roles in our dietary priorities and needs, how we gain and lose weight and our metabolic rates. It also determines how well we learn, cope with stress, process information, and our longevity.
Getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep daily is a no-brainer. In a 2013 study, s group of scientists noticed that a week of sleep deprivation resulted in alterations in the functions of 711 genes, including involved in metabolism, immunity, and stress.
Leptin, a hormone that modulates our body’s inflammatory responses is profoundly affected by sleep. Leptin regulates our carb cravings, hunger and ultimately energy balance.
A study conducted in 2004 found that participants with a 20 percent dip in leptin levels experienced a corresponding 24 percent increase in appetite and hunger, and ultimately heightened cravings for calorie-dense, high carb foods.
To increase your chances of good night sleep, try to keep the light low and don’t consume any caffeine-containing drinks for at least six hours before going to sleep. Reduce the lightning including the light from your phone too.
At least seven hours of quality sleep will make you feel vibrant and live longer. Quality sleep has been correlated to optimum health in many studies.
9. EMBRACE INTERMITTENT FASTING
Fasting can reduce inflammation, provide detoxification and augment the production of antioxidants. One unique trait of the human brain is its ability to use alternative sources of energy during of periods of lack.
Fasting promotes energy production, boosts brain functioning and can modulate other body mechanisms that can accelerate weight loss.
The ketogenic diet ensures you get about 80-90 percent of your calories from fat.
Fasting prompts your brain to switch to fat-instead of glucose-as its source of fuel. This fuel is derived from ketones, a form of fat that is critical to the brain’s physiology.