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Easy Lifestyle Changes to Make to Live Longer (and Happier)

Natalie Stein
September 9, 2020
Easy Lifestyle Changes to Make to Live Longer (and Happier)

You cannot change your genes, but the way you live your life certainly affects your longevity and happiness. Small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in terms of years of your life! Here we offer more ideas for easy changes to other parts of your life to live longer and happier.

1. Exercise


Physical activity is good for your muscles, but also for your bones, joints, heart, blood vessels, lungs, and pretty much everything else. It boosts mood, too.

Walking is about as simple as it gets, but other options include cycling, jogging, swimming, playing tennis, gardening, and more. Aim for 150 minutes per week of activity – that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week – or more.

2. Work your brain


Using your brain can keep it healthy and sharp, which can help prevent frustration and irritability from preventable fuzzy thinking and memory loss. Anything you do to make your brain work can help.

Examples of using your brain include mapping new routes, reading, doing crossword puzzles, changing recipes to double or halve them, and learning how to knit.

3. Talk and listen


Talking lets you express yourself, and listening lets you learn about others and understand different situations and perspectives. Both are valuable. Plus, communication skills such as listening and talking help you build and maintain relationships, which are also linked to health and happiness.

4. Offer and ask for help


Helping others boosts sense of purpose and value, which in turn is good for health and mood. Ways to help include formal volunteer work, such as at local food banks, schools, and libraries, babysitting grandchildren or friends’ kids, and baking for elderly neighbors.

Just as important as giving help is asking for it when you need it. There is no shame in it, and it gives others the chance to contribute to society, too.

5. Use a softer toothbrush


A healthy mouth is linked to lower risk for diabetes and heart disease, and a softer toothbrush lets you brush your teeth better and with less discomfort.

Many people make the mistake of using an overly firm brush, which can be painful. In addition to brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning can help you stay away from crowns, root canals, and extractions.

6. Sleep more


Sleeping lowers inflammation, improves blood sugar regulation, lowers stress levels, increases energy, and lowers hunger and carb cravings. Many adults are sleep-deprived, but making an effort to get at least 7 to 8 hours a night can make a world of difference.

How happy would you be if you woke up feeling refreshed most days, and stayed alert and energetic throughout the day?

7. Meditate


Learning to accept yourself and focus your thoughts while meditating can carry over to the rest of your life. A few minutes a day of meditation may help lower stress levels, increase calmness, and improve health.

8. Get some sunlight while wearing sunscreen


Suboptimal vitamin D levels are rampant, but getting more sunlight can often help. Vitamin D helps with bone strength, mental health, immunity, and blood sugar regulation, for starters. Just be sure to use sunscreen when you are going to be in the sun for more than 10 minutes at a time.

9. Go to the doctor


Going to the doctor for regular screenings and checkups can help catch any problems early, and that is usually when treatment is most effective. From cancer and prediabetes to hypertension, early detection allows for better and easier treatment.

There is also peace of mind that comes from knowing you are doing everything you can for your health and your doctor has recently given you a clean bill of health.

10. Put yourself first


Almost everyone has too much to do and needs to prioritize. Forgetting to put your own needs first can mean they fall to the back of the line and are never addressed. That not only hurts you, but the people around you when you are eventually unable to be as physically and emotionally strong for them.

Whether it is eating healthy or taking time to exercise or relax, one of the secrets to living long and happy is treating yourself just as well as you would treat any of your loved ones

Written by Natalie Stein on September 9, 2020
Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health
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