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Live Long, Live Strong

April 2008
Live Long, Live Strong

Small changes and the choices we make can go a long way. It can ultimately be the difference between life and death!

There is only one thing guaranteed in life, and that is death! Although we don’t go out of our way consciously to bring ourselves closer to the end, most of us don’t do everything in our control, either, to delay the end. We make choices every day that could very well limit our life potential, not realizing how detrimental the cumulative effect of these choices can be. Even though no one is completely immune from aging, there are several things within your power to improve your life and maybe even help you live longer.

Friends: While we don’t have a choice about the family we are born into, we do have a choice about the friends we maintain. Interestingly enough, a recent study on aging showed that it’s not family and children that influence longevity, but it’s more the friendships we develop and maintain that help us live longer. Instead of having a large network of friends why not develop and nurture one or two close friendships that last a lifetime? Friends with a sense of humor are best!

Exercise more: Exercise is the most effective tool when it comes to leading a long healthy life and delaying the aging process. Exercising not only lifts your spirits, it improves bone health, muscular strength, maintains weight, relieves stress, and prevents the onset of many diseases that come with age. When developing your exercise regimen, don’t neglect weight lifting. Training with weights has shown numerous benefits as we age, including a tremendous improvement in activities of daily living. Challenge yourself and exercise a little harder each session to build fitness. Remember, you’re never too old to start exercising!

Eat less, eat smart: In this country of super-sizing and super eating, portion control is a challenge. Our metabolism slows down as we age, so not only is portion control important, but also the types of food that we eat. Eat four to five small meals daily to keep your metabolism revved up. For example, eat half of what you would normally eat for lunch and eat the remaining half tow to three hours later as a mid-afternoon snack. Limit eating out, and choose from a variety of foods high in antioxidants that promote anti-aging. Examples are berries, leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and fruits. Also include whole grains and lean protein choices in your diet.

Stress less; meditate and relax more: Your attitude is key when it comes to handling stress. Stress can be unhealthy and can also accelerate the aging process. Each of us have challenging circumstances in life, and while certain circumstances are beyond our control, the way we handle our circumstances and how we let it effect us is under our control. Practice yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to help cope with stress. And do try to get plenty of sleep. Be an optimist about your circumstances and remember that every glass half empty is also half full!

Other overlooked but significant things: How about always wearing your seat belt? Or getting regular checkups with your doctor? If detected early, cancers can be treated and the prognosis can be very good. Yet, most of us neglect regular physicals and take our health and life for granted. How about regular dental checkups? Did you know that those with periodontal disease have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack? Shouldn’t this be of concern in a community like ours that is already at high risk for heart disease? Or how about quitting smoking? Quitting smoking can add years to your life.

Small changes and the choices we make can go a long way. It can ultimately be the difference between life and death!

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