Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Six Tips for Longer Life

By: Peter Stockwell

We all want a long healthy life. If we go about it the right way we may well achieve it. Here are six tips to help you on your way.

Keep Fit. Obesity is one of the great killers of our age. Whether it is by a walking for weight loss program or static exercise we need to burn off the calories in the food we eat. We must do it every day, because the fatter we get the more difficult it gets to lose weight. The task seems beyond us and we fall back on the old excuses of having big bones, or size running in the family. No, we don't have big bones and size runs in families because they all eat the same bad diet. So daily exercise is essential.

Eat the Right Food. Avoid too much fat and sugar. In fact any food which is heavily advertised probably contains both and is likely to be bad for you. Try not to snack or, if you do, eat fruit rather than biscuits. Avoid sweet fizzy drinks. Keep to a Mediterranean diet of fresh vegetables, lean meat and oily fish. Other diets are possible, but I think this is the most complete. You can even eat crusty bread with it in moderation and an occasional glass of red wine. You are not on a diet, you are just eating better food.

Enjoy the Simple Things. Striving after things we can't have is another killer. Once people enjoyed short haul holidays, then medium haul and now nowhere is worth going to if it isn't a twelve hour flight away. By the time we have recovered from the stress of getting there it is time for the stress of getting back.

Then, of course there, is the consumer treadmill. Why do we have to change a perfectly useable car for a later model? Who needs a massive TV set? You can watch rubbish equally well on a smaller one. All this is tied to money and in order to obtain the money we work long hours. Many city workers are burnt out by the time they are forty. So then the health problems arrive.

It is much better to enjoy the things you have and only work for the achievable. There is nothing wrong in seeking to improve the quality of life of you and your family, but make sure you are really doing so.

Stress. "Life is trouble, only death is not," as Zorba so rightly put it. There is stress everywhere and it cannot be avoided. But we should not go looking for it. The man in the pub queue who orders five pints of beer, can't decide if he'll have cheese and onion or plain crisps and pays by credit card can cause stress. But it doesn't really matter if it takes you an extra five minutes to get your order.

Be relaxed in your car, we all get lost, we all make driving errors. You are not surrounded by idiots, just by people like you. Forgive and move on.

Much stress cannot to avoided, but self induced stress can. Next time you feel your blood pressure rising take a deep breath and calm down.

Keep Learning. To live a long and healthy life you must keep learning. It has been proved that using your brain fends off Alzheimer's disease. Not for all but for enough of us to make it worth while keeping our brains active. Use your brain. If you forget something look it up and learn it again. Start a new hobby. Become an expert on something - anything. But you must use your brain in a new way every day.

If you can afford it, a college or University course will enable you to learn
new skills and make new friends at the same time. It will also give you something to aim at, whether a Certificate of Completion, a finished painting or maybe a completed piece of creative writing. Whatever it is you have used your brain and achieved something as well.

Have a Close Relationship. A close friend or partner can help alleviate stress and depression by being somebody to talk to. Not all close relationships are successful or even desirable in later life, but if you do know someone with a sympathetic ear you will find great benefit in their friendship. But don't forget there will be times when they need help from you. If you do not have anybody to talk to join a club and you will find friends in abundance.

It's not too difficult to have a long healthy life. You just need to get a few things right. But remember, if you do nothing else, a regular walking for weight loss program will get you fit and keep you fit. So put the pieces in place and off you go. Why not start now?


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