Not-So-Secret Tips to a Long Life

No matter what your age, it’s never too late to make small changes in your daily habits that will help you feel better and live longer. None of these tips will be new to you, just look at them as gentle reminders to seek the higher road.

A body in motion stays in motion: Make it a daily habit to find ways to move your body. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog; chase your grandkids; garden or mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it can also ease stress. You don’t have to run a marathon, just take the most active approach to your tasks and reap the health benefits.

Be lean and mean: This one is easier than it looks, especially because so many products not only label foods as “low fat,” but because there are so many more options on the market. Stay away from fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage).

Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and cream should be eaten in low fat versions. Nuts and sandwich meats, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces should be eaten in limited amounts. Look for lower fat versions of your favorite condiments, such as butter substitute, fat free cheeses and mayonnaise.

Don’t stress out: This is harder than it looks, but is worth the adjustment. Stress busters come in many forms. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like. This might mean making time for a walk on the beach, reading a good book, or visiting a friend. You can also try meditating. Remember to count to ten when you feel like losing your temper or getting aggravated.

Purify your environment: If you aren’t lucky enough to life in a smog-free environment, at least try to avoid smoke-filled rooms, high traffic areas, and noxious fumes. Plant lots of shrubbery in your yard. Plants provide oxygen and are good pollution and dirt deterrents.

Buckle up: This is a small habit, but one of the hardest for some to remember. Wear your seat belt. Statistics show that seat belts add to longevity and help alleviate potential injuries in car crashes.

Floss daily: Recent studies make a direct connection between longevity and teeth flossing. Nobody knows exactly why. Perhaps it's because people who floss tend to be more health conscious than people who don't?

Easy does it, cocktail-wise: It’s true that some studies show a glass of wine or one drink a day (two for men) can help protect against heart disease, but remember that consuming more than that can cause other health problems such as liver and kidney disease and cancer.

Think positive: Though it’s hard to prove statistically, researchers have noted a definitive connection between living well and healthfully and having a cheerful outlook on life. Try to see the bright side, even in aggravating situations.