Want to live longer? We all do probably, but it’s not just about living longer – it’s mostly about living longer with a high quality of life. Here are five habits to incorporate into your daily life, that could end up helping you not just live longer, but live better. These are not major changes – in fact we deliberately focused here on small, manageable changes – but over the long run, they can translate into calories saves, energy burned, and a longer, healthier life.
1. Replace one junky snack with a healthy one. Sure, we could just say “eat better” or “eat healthy,” but that’s too vague and can get overwhelming. Instead, we suggest making a small change in your daily routine and replacing one not-so-healthy snack (such as a candy bar) with a wholesome, healthy snack such as VOSKOS Greek Yogurt, hard boiled eggs, a cheese stick, a piece of fruit, or fresh-cut veggies.
2. Use the stairs. Ultimately, your goal is to be as active as possible. Our bodies are meant to move throughout the day – our ancestors did not sit at their desk typing on their keyboard all day long, and our bodies are no different than theirs. The more movement you get the better, but let’s start with a small change – use the stairs whenever you get the choice between an elevator or an escalator and stairs. Even if your office is on the 15th floor, take the elevator up to the 11th floor, then take the stairs!
3. Get 10-20 minutes of sunlight per day. We’ve grown so accustomed to hiding from the sun, that we might be overdoing it. Sunlight is needed to produce vitamin D, which protects us from certain cancers. It also supports our immune system and our mood. To get those 10 minutes of unprotected sunlight exposure, you could take a walk during lunch, which would also help you get more exercise! If you absolutely can’t get more sun exposure during the day, talk to your doctor about a vitamin D supplement.
4. Relax. In the context of our stressful modern life, the word “relax” sounds like a dream. But knowing how to relax is extremely important. Stress can wreak havoc on almost every system in your body, so knowing how to relax can literally prolong your life. You don’t need to spend hours in a relaxed state to get the benefit of relaxation – a couple daily sessions of deep breathing, or even a quick afternoon catnap, can do the trick.
5. Connect with family and friends. By “connect,” we mean in person. The Internet and social media are great, but human psyche is still the same as it was 1,000 and even 10,000 years ago, which means we still crave face-to-face contact and gentle touch. A family dinner can achieve this, as well as hugging a lot and taking the time to talk with your partner. If you live alone, make regular plans to meet with friends, and consider adopting a pet – pets, especially dogs, truly are a person’s best friends.
These small changes to your daily habits can add years to your life. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the things you know you should change to become healthier! Start small, and hey, if even the above list seems like too much, make just one change – it can still make a very real difference.