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Morning Routine

How To Upgrade The Way You Wake Up In The Morning 

A morning routine is imperative for the success of any individual. Now that a majority of us are getting used to the new normal of either working from home or running our lives more thoroughly out of our living rooms, it’s important that we give ourselves a solid routine in the morning to properly start our days and keep us motivated to take on this ever-changing scary world. 

Remember, everyone is different when it comes to things that get them motivated or wake them up in the morning, however, there are a multitude of general tips one can implement into their daily routines that they can accustom to their preferences. For example, waking up early in the morning is the best way to ensure that you won’t have to rush or feel stressed to get your day going. Waking up earlier and giving yourself that extra time in the morning will have you starting your day on an already calm and leisurely note. However, maybe you aren’t exactly a morning person and don’t know how to just implement “waking up early” casually into your life. 

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For this, experts would recommend you start slow, and that also starts with when you go to bed as well. Try going to bed even just a half hour earlier than you normally would, and see how much it makes a difference when you wake up. Beyond that, the best way to wake your body up in the morning is to get it moving immediately.

Studies suggest that starting your day with even 30-seconds of high-intensity exercise can give you the same energizing effect as a cup of coffee, and will help improve your cognitive function in the morning as well so you’re not left in that post-dream haze for hours. If getting out of bed and immediately doing 30-seconds of jumping jacks doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try going the more relaxed route and do some quick yoga. 

Yoga stimulates the mind, body, and spirit, and is a great for waking up your body’s internal systems. Stretching, deep breathing, and focusing on balance and posture will center your brain to handle whatever daily tasks you’re about to endure as well. Another major part of this could be practicing meditation/reflecting on gratitude first thing in the morning. 

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Robert Emmons, is a psychologist who is also the author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a book about the importance of implementing gracious thoughts throughout your day. Emmons recommends starting your day thinking about three to five things, big or small, that you’re grateful for, and if it’s hard for you to think of them first thing in the morning, read from a gratitude journal to remind yourself. 

“Simply keeping a gratitude journal — regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful — can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.”

Mornings are also perfect for planning your day, setting your weekly/monthly goals, and organizing. After you do your morning exercise, have some breakfast, and get yourself dressed, sit down with your planner and list out what things you’d like to accomplish either for the day or maybe week. 

Once you find aspects of your morning routine that help get you motivated, stick to it for at least two weeks. Those 14 days will help train your brain into thinking that these aspects of your routine are necessary to keep your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place throughout the day. During this two week “trial period” don’t be afraid to experiment with the order or your routine and if something isn’t working for you, don’t do it!

Walking Outdoors

10,000 Steps A Day Is Key To Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle, Doctor Says

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, doctors recommend taking at least 8,000 to 10,000 steps every day to keep your mind, body, and spirit active and engaged. Regardless of age, everyone can benefit from staying on their feet more throughout the day, especially in the middle of a pandemic that forces us to remain indoors. 

Duke Carlson is a family doctor who always recommends that his patients increase the number of steps they take each day as a means of supporting positive physical and mental health. 

“Following patients throughout their lives the way that I have in my career I’ve seen the amount of activity they are engaged in and daily steps make a big difference in their health.”

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Carlson traditionally “prescribes” all of his patients to get at least 10,000 steps a day, as it has proven to be one of the more popular ways to get his patients moving. “People generally like to have a concrete number for the number of steps they should take,” this way, there’s a set goal that the individual can work towards everyday. Older patients may be prescribed 6,000 – 8,000 steps a day depending on their physical condition; age is never a determining factor in terms of someone’s physical health. 

Typically that recommendation is given to older individuals who have a history with arthritis or any other joint/mobility related conditions, but again, “age doesn’t make it where you can’t do steps,” it’s the condition of the body that impacts how well one can exercise at any age. 

Carlson often uses his mother-in-law as an example, and as a motivation, for his older patients who seem less inclined to get up and move every day. His mother-in-law is 85 and makes sure to get in 10,000 steps every single day, most of which occurs in her own home. She often uses the treadmill but also walks in place while on the phone or watching TV. 

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“You can march in pace in front of the TV, you can go to Walmart and do two laps around the building before you go shopping, there’s always little ways to make daily exercise easy for everyone.”

The practice of shinrin-yoku, also known as “forest bathing”, is an alternative way to count steps that originated in Japan that Carlson has found himself adopting into his own life in recent years. This practice encourages individuals to go outside and immerse themselves in some type of nature; preferably under a canopy of trees. 

Carlson has been recommending this practice to most of his patients especially now that the world is enduring the Covid-19 pandemic. Getting out and finding nature paths that already allow for proper social distancing to take place is the perfect way to get in your 10,000 steps. The fresh air and colorful scenic surroundings are also an added bonus. 

For individuals working from home, he recommends finding simple ways to insert walking into your daily routine. For example, taking a walk on your lunch break instead of sitting in front of the TV, or walking in place while on business calls, just like his mother-in-law.

Girl with her Dog

How Owning A Pet Can Lead To A Healthier Lifestyle

Having a pet is one of the most beneficial things humans can do for both their mental and physical health. A lot of people just think pets make us happy because we’re their owners and provide for them, which is accurate, however there’s a much deeper relationship that develops when we grow a bond with a pet over time. Especially during a pandemic that forces us to remain indoors indefinitely, many of us are turning to our furry friends as a means of comfort and joy, in a world that’s so scary and uncertain. 

Many individuals are also using the pandemic as a means of finally pulling the trigger on becoming a pet-owner, as there really is no better time to train/take care of a new animal and do all the proper research than during a quarantine. Beyond just having the time for a pet, many are looking to find additional means of emotional support, as spending months on months at home takes a toll on anyone after a while. 

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The fact that animals are able to provide emotional support isn’t just some commonly understood phenomenon, there’s scientific evidence that backs it up as well. It’s why some animals are specifically trained to be emotional support animals the same way some are trained to help assist individuals with disabilities. Dogs in particular have such a unique cognitive ability to be trained in specific fields as long as that training starts young. 

From a scientific perspective, the hormone cortisol is what’s released when we feel stressed. Research studies have shown that pets in general – whether it be a dog, cat, hamster, fish, rabbit, etc. – naturally help human beings reduce their cortisol levels through things like training or bonding. Even owning a fish can help relieve stress, simply by looking in your little friends tank every day and watching them live their simple, stress-free life, it ends up becoming contagious. 

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Think about how when we watch a certain television show, and for the time being we forget about all of our life’s stresses because for 30 minutes we’re engulfed in another fictional universe where our problems don’t exist, and the characters’ problems become our problems for that duration of time. It’s an empathetic reaction, and that’s what happens with owning a pet as well. Looking down at your dog or cat, thinking about how they are completely unaware of the world’s issues and just focused on the present moment can be completely contagious, and will remind you to try to remain in the moment. 

The same way that pets lower your cortisol levels, they also have been proven to reduce blood pressure/heart rates in certain individuals. The concept is essentially the same, owning a pet and building a loving bond with it is relaxing. In those moments where it’s just you and your pet, it’s hard to focus on everything else so your whole body is likely to be a lot calmer, and thus, your blood pressure and heart rate stabilize. 

Certain pets, like dogs, promote an active lifestyle as well. Dogs have to be walked, played with, and constantly attended too especially when they’re puppies. Owning an animal that leads an active lifestyle will force you to get up and do the same, because someones gotta clean up after your furry babies. Studies have even shown that owning a dog reduces older individuals risk of having a heart attack due to all the activity.

Finally, the bond you build with your pet is so unique and special that it’s been proven to reduce feelings of depression, anxiousnesses, and other mental stresses that many of us are enduring right now. Your pet may not be your whole entire life and world, but to them, you are their entire life, and that love is easily felt everyday.

Healthy Life

Healthy Lifestyle Choices To Help You Live Your Best Life

During a global pandemic, there’s an extreme focus on health and safety. Beyond just not wanting to be infected with Covid-19, many individuals are realizing that they need to be putting their general health at the forefront of their priorities so that they can continue to live out normal and healthy lives once this is all over. According to doctors, there are certain lifestyle choices we can be making everyday that will not only improve our bodies health, but extend the likelihood of living a long life.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Many individuals who are trying to lose weight think that skipping breakfast can help speed up that process, when it’s actually the opposite. Being hungry in the morning can lead to snacking throughout the day and later into the night, which is bad for digestion. 

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Have a breakfast that’s high in things like fiber and vitamins but low in things like fat, sugar, and salt. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, or yogurt, are all great options to have in the morning. 

According to the NHS’s Eatwell Guide, a balanced diet in general is one of the most important things to maintaining a healthy life. The NHS specifically advises that you “eat the rainbow” everyday, referring to the “rainbow” of food groups. You want to make sure you’re eating starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, bread, rice) as a third of your diet. High fiber and wholegrain options are the healthiest and will aid your stomach with digestion as well. 

Doctors also claim that eating starchy carbohydrates throughout the day helps stop you from snacking on unhealthy foods later in the day. Another third of your diet should be dedicated to fruit and vegetables; doctors recommend five servings a day. The remainder of your diet should consist of dairy products (depending on your dietary restrictions), meat, and fish. 

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Sugar and salt are the number one enemies of living a healthy lifestyle. Not only can they cause things like high blood pressure, weight gain, tooth decay, and more, but both substances also actively dehydrate your body. As we know, water is the most important substance, besides food, that we can put into our bodies to keep us alive. So when we’re eating foods that are high in sugar and salt, we’re depriving our body of those essential nutrients. 

Speaking of, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This summer has proven to be a hot and humid one, just being outside will dehydrate your body, so make sure you always have a reusable water bottle (for the environment) in your presence. There’s a lot of information out there about how much water you should be drinking a day, but most doctors agree that getting anywhere from 6-8 glasses a day is average and should be the minimum. 

Finally, try to get into any kind of exercise that’s fun for you. Now that we all have an indefinite amount of time at home, there’s no excuse to not take up yoga, running, or any other sort of exercise that can be done easily. Many individuals are intimidated the most about where to start when it comes to getting into exercising. Luckily, the internet exists, and is one of the largest resources for free exercise tips and training tricks from professionals. Simply go to Youtube, type in the type of exercise you want to get into followed by the term “for beginners,” there should be a whole slew of options for you to choose from!

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Activities To Keep Your Kids Moving While Stuck Inside

Having your kids at home during a worldwide pandemic is truly no easy feat. Between homeschooling, your own personal job, and making sure your family is staying healthy and safe in quarantine, there’s a lot to do in a given day. Exercise and physical activity is extremely important, especially for young kids who are continuing to grow regardless of a lock down. So keep your kids moving by implementing some fun exercise/sports-like games in their day. There’s plenty of things kids can do during their daily at-home “recess” time indoors that will keep their bodies and minds active and engaged. Here are a few ideas to help inspire you:

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Obstacle Courses: What kid doesn’t love the thrill of an obstacle course? One of the benefits of setting up a course in your home/on your property is that your kids can get involved in the creation process using things from all around the house. So this activity isn’t just engaging your child’s body, but mind as well to problem solve and figure out what obstacles would be the most fun/challenging for them. 

Animal Races: A new and fun alternative to racing with your little ones is called animal racing. You can do this same type of race for any kind of category that allows participants to act out whoever/whatever they get assigned; for example Disney Princesses, mythical creatures, actors, etc. Fill a bowl up with various types of animals and have everyone draw one. Then set up a race track where every participant will have to act like their assigned animal until they get to the finish line.

Balloon Ball: In another classic indoor birthday party activity, balloon ball follows the same basic protocol as “The floor is lava!” game, which is another great option by the way. Fill up a bunch of balloons and try to keep them off the ground by passing them back and forth. “Level up” by adding more and more balloons into the mix until it’s nearly impossible to keep all of them up at once!

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Freeze Dance/Musical Chairs: This is another easy option that kids can even do on their own! YouTube offers a multitude of freeze dance videos that cycle through a variety of songs, many of which are oriented towards kids, and randomly pauses the music throughout to indicate when the kids should stop dancing. Besides that, the only requirement it would have from you is pressing the play/pause button. 

Clean-Up Race: We all can relate to our parents tricking us into cleaning our rooms/the house by offering some sort of “prize” or proclaiming the fastest to clean is the winner. While this may be a sneaky tactic, it really is one of the most effective ways to get your kids to clean up after themselves, hence why it’s been used for so long. Incentives/Prizes don’t have to be too complicated either, you can simply offer your kids an extra serving of desert or the ability to choose the next movie to watch on family movie night. 

Between all of these options and others – like pillow fights, fort building, jump rope, tag, red rover, chalk, etc. – there are plenty of activities your kids can be doing daily to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits active and moving. It can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves as much as we are our loved ones during this pandemic, so get your kids to play in the yard for the next hour, and take a load off, you deserve it.

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How To Keep Yourself Entertained During Quarantine

In times of global pandemics, it’s important to remember to do things to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the constant updates and statements about a rapidly spreading virus. Binge-watching your favorite shows and taking on some new hobbies are just two general examples of ways you can keep yourself busy during times of quarantine, so what should you try today?

Thanks to the many art and cultural institutions throughout the world, you can bring the likes of museums, Broadway plays, theatrical productions, and opera performances, right into your living room. Google’s Arts and Culture Department has collaborated with over 500 of the world’s most famous museums to offer virtual tours and lessons on some of the most famous artwork in history. 

In addition, Broadway has its own streaming service, and BBC is offering a digital “Culture in quarantine festival” for fans of all things theater and dance. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming exclusive versions of some of its most famous performances every night. 

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Another great way to keep yourself occupied, while also feeling like you’re doing something to benefit your physical health, is doing an in-home workout routine. There are plenty of free options covering a multitude of types of exercise on YouTube. Not only will you ensure that you’re keeping your body running to the best of its ability, but exercise also is a great mood-booster, especially when you’re stuck inside. 

Along those same lines, taking an online yoga or meditation course, or simply going on YouTube for free, will also improve your physical health while improving your mental well-being as well. The overall goal of keeping yourself entertained when quarantined and distanced from the outside world, is to do things that are enriching for your mind, body, and soul. 

You don’t want to simply sit in front of the TV and distract yourself with mindless reality shows all day, although that’s not the worst option, you want to do things that will keep you from being in your head too often throughout the day. 

The more time you spend just thinking, the more likely it is that you’ll get trapped in an endless stream of consciousness about all things COVID-19/pandemic related. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s just as important to completely separate yourself from that narrative that we’re constantly hearing about at all hours of the day. 

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Some local entertainers are taking to their community Facebook groups to host online dinner parties, happy hours, hangouts, or even concerts. Just because we can’t all physically spend time with our distanced friends and family, living in a time of advanced technology gives us that ability. We have endless access and communication to whoever we want to talk to, whenever we want to, so might as well take advantage of it. 

“Join us tonight from wherever you are! Social distancing is good for the world right now, but still hard on us as individuals — emotionally, mentally and even physically. So let’s stay connected and, for the love of Pete, let’s keep making music!!” wrote New Jersey local singer Meghan Carey on her artist Facebook page before performing a virtual concert on Saturday.

Finally, make sure you’re going outside and getting some fresh air at least once a day. Just because you need to be socially distancing yourself from others, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a solo walk around town, assuming there’s natural spaces for you to go. Many national parks and services around the US are waiving their fees to encourage people to go for more walks while keeping a safe distance around other people. 

Fresh air is good for your physical and mental health, so like anything, just make sure you’re maintaining those two important aspects over anything. It can be easy to get trapped in a binge-watching marathon but that won’t be good for your mind or body in the long run, so get outside, do some yoga, and take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.

Woman Waking up from good night sleep

The Key To A Better Night’s Sleep Is A Healthy Lifestyle

Sleeping is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Our bodies need rest in order to recharge and replenish our body’s natural systems so that they’re performing to the best of their ability. Many of us have certain sleep issues, whether it be having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or trouble waking up in the morning, whatever it may be, there’s certain changes you can make to your everyday routine that can help improve your nightly slumbers, and get you the eight hours you need to feel great in the morning. 

One of the simplest solutions for improving sleep is ensuring that you’re in a dark environment. Dark rooms obviously support better sleep as there’s less sensory stimulation. Light exposure interferes with our bodies natural sleep cycle and circadian rhythms; which is a fancy term that refers to when your body tells you to wake up and when to fall asleep. 

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Investing in blackout curtains is the easiest solution if your sleeping situation involves a room with a window that’s facing the sun at any given point in the morning or evening. Heavy and thick curtains not only block out the intense natural lighting of the outside world, but also encourages a more relaxed sleeping environment in general. Dark colored curtains will typically always do the trick, however, if a lighter color would better fit your rooms aesthetic, there are plenty of online options of light colored curtains with thick enough linings to darken any space. 

If you’ve done any research regarding sleep or insomnia, you’ve definitely heard about blue light emissions and their negative effects on our bodies ability to fall asleep. Electronic devices typically always have a “blue light” undertone that has been proven to disrupt our circadian rhythms specifically when we’re going to bed; as many of us like to mindlessly scroll through social media before falling asleep. 

This blue light suppresses the production of melatonin in our brains, which is the chemical that tells the rest of our body when it’s time for bed.  Some phones have a “night mode” setting that turns your screen a more amber hue to combat that harsh blue emission, and there are numerous screen-protector like products that do the same, however, the best thing you can do to promote a more solid night of sleep, is to avoid electronics at all cost at least an hour before going to bed. This can be tough for a lot of us who have developed a nighttime routine that involves some entertainment on our devices, but the only way to ensure you’re body will keep producing melatonin at a normal rate, and keep you rested throughout the night, is to unplug it all and read a book instead before bed. 

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What you eat and drink throughout a day also has a heavy effect on your natural sleep cycle. Depending on when you go to bed, you should stop eating at 8 pm the latest. The later in the night you eat, the more your body will have to digest while you’re resting. This is an issue because our bodies digest at a much slower metabolic rate when we’re sleeping, which can either lead to an unpleasant middle-of-the-night bathroom trip, or an overall feeling of grogginess in the morning. 

Following a healthy meal plan that avoids processed foods and sugars will also keep your energy levels in a more natural and stable state, so when it comes time to unwind, your body will have no problem doing so because it received all the necessary nutrients it needed throughout the day. 

Finally, along the same lines as a healthy diet, getting regular exercise will improve how well you stay asleep throughout the entire night. Even just 10 minutes of activity a day can show positive results. So many of us get trapped in the 9-5 bubble of sitting at a desk all day and then going home and just sitting on the couch to unwind. When you keep up with an active exercise schedule, you’re lowering your risk for certain sleep conditions such as sleep apnea. 

Regardless of what issues you have when it comes time to turn the lights out, keeping up with healthy lifestyle habits will always help improve the way your body functions, regardless of if you’re conscious or not.

Heart Healthy Diet

5 Healthy Habits That Can Help You Live A Decade Longer: Study Suggests

In a massive study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers and health experts alike studied the impact of healthy lifestyle habits and life expectancy. The individuals involved in conducting the study had access to medical data that provided a huge pool of subjects with decades worth of medical records to go through. When all was said and done researchers were able to draw conclusions using data from over 120,000 participants; 34 years worth of records from 78,000+ women, and 28 years worth of records from 40,000+ men. 

The researchers specifically focused on five areas of life/health: diet, physical activity/exercise, body weight, smoking, and alcohol intake. The data regarding these five categories was collected through a series of regularly administered questionnaires that would be validated through a multitude of actual medical records; all participants completely consented to the study. These five particular categories were chosen because, based on the death rates in America, these five areas pose the largest risk of premature death when attributed with unhealthy habits. 

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Obviously, researchers also had to take every individuals specific genetic make up into consideration as well, so they took data on age, ethnicity, medication use, and other health conditions as well. Within the study this is how researchers defined “healthy habits” within each of the five categories. 

  1. Healthy diet, calculated based on the reported intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.
  2. Healthy physical activity level, which was measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.
  3. Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.
  4. Smoking, “Healthy” here means never having smoked.
  5. Moderate alcohol intake, measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women, and 5 to 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

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Once the study was concluded, researchers determined that healthy habits make a huge difference in terms of life expectancy, and not in the obvious sense. The analysis showed that women who met the criteria for all five healthy habits lived, on average, 14 years longer than those who didn’t; for men it was a 12 year difference. If an individual didn’t meet the criteria for any of these healthy habits, they were much more likely to die prematurely from either cancer or cardiovascular disease; the two top causes of death in the world in terms of disease. 

Beyond these results, the study also concluded that if any of the subjects adopted just one of the healthy habits listed above their life expectancy would likely be prolonged by two years, regardless of gender, especially if they were over the age of 50. 

The experts behind this study want the individuals who observe the results to take away a very specific message. In America, our health care focus is too concentrated on fancy and expensive medications to combat deadly disease as opposed to ways of preventing those diseases in the first place. This isn’t the first time in which experts have stated that the best, and easiest, way to inspire the masses to adopt healthier lifestyle habits is through “public health efforts and policy changes.” 

While we wait for those systematic changes to occur, however, it’s never too late to make even the slightest of changes to our lifestyles to give us the best shot at living a long and healthy life. Start slow, as the data stated even one habit adoption can add two years to your life, so what are you waiting for?

Apple Watch and Iphone Activity

Apple Partners With Gyms to Offer Perks for Working Out

If you own an Apple Watch, you may already be motivated to go to the gym thanks to the watch’s various fitness features, including heart rate monitoring and automatic exercise detection. However, Apple is planning to incentivize owners of the Apple Watch even further by partnering with gyms to offer perks like discounted membership fees and even gift cards for frequent visitors of the gym. Apple’s plan is called “Apple Watch Connected,” and in order for a gym to partner with Apple under this plan, they need to meet a set of standards set by the technology company. In order for a gym to be granted Apple Watch Connected branding, it’ll need to offer four things: an iPhone and Apple Watch app that presents information like class times; Apple Pay support; perks like membership discounts for Apple Watch users; and equipment that supports GymKit, a system Apple uses to sync Apple Watch data with machines like treadmills and ellipticals.

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The partnership should improve the gym-going experience for Apple Watch users, who already enjoy the benefits of continuous heart rate tracking and tracking of other statistics while working out. By using a treadmill that supports GymKit, for instance, gym members can record exact data about their distance and speed while walking or running. The partnership should also encourage more gyms to develop their own apps, which should improve the workout experience for technology fans. In theory, the partnership should benefit Apple as it should expand the number of gyms that support its products, but also the gyms themselves, as the partnership could help them attract and keep customers. 

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As of today, four gyms have already announced their participation in the Apple Watch Connected program, which are YMCA, Crunch Fitness, Basecamp Fitness, and Orange Theory. Initially, the program will only apple to select locations, but Apple hopes to expand its network of participating partners as time goes on. The perks that are offered to Apple Watch customers varies by gym; Crunch Fitness offers membership discounts to regular visitors; Orange Theory is offering gift cards; and the YMCA will donate classes to kids. Apple recognizes that one of the primary appeals of the Apple Watch to consumers is its ability to function as a fitness device, and seeks to capitalize on this demand by giving its customers as many reasons to visit the gym as possible.

Healthy Lifestyle

Study Finds That a Healthy Lifestyle can Add a Decade of Life Free From Disease

Everyone knows that practicing healthy habits, such as dieting, exercising, and avoiding cigarettes, can extend one’s life span and improve one’s quality of life. However, it can be difficult to conceptualize exactly how much of a benefit these habits offer in one’s life, as it’s easy for these metrics to become somewhat abstract. As such, a study published in the British Medical Journal sought to quantify exactly how much a healthy lifestyle benefits one’s life, and found that practicing a healthy lifestyle can expand one’s disease-free lifespan by an average of ten years.

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The study looked at five factors associated with a healthy lifestyle, which included drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating well. The study, which looked at more than 100,000 people, found that people who practiced four of these five traits lived as much as ten years longer without diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, than people who practiced none of these habits. Not only does a healthy lifestyle allow people to live longer lives, but the quality of life increases when people practice healthy lifestyle habits, as the risk of developing diseases decreases dramatically.

Specifically, the study found that women who practiced any four of the five traits in question lived an average of 84 years without disease, whereas women who practiced none of the five habits only lived an average of 74 years without disease. Likewise, men with four out of the five healthy habits lived to 81 years old without disease, whereas men who practiced none of the healthy habits lived to 73 years old without disease. The most unhealthy characteristics a person can have, the study found, were smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day or having a BMI greater than 30, which is defined as obesity.

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While the study shows that moderate drinking is far healthier than heavy drinking, it’s important to note that other studies have shown that no amount of alcohol is good for you, despite persistent rumors that suggest that having a glass of wine with dinner can improve one’s health. In fact, using recreational drugs at all is widely considered to have either a neutral or a negative impact on one’s health, and definitely not a positive one. Instead of relying on drugs as a method of reducing stress, doctors recommend other methods that help to both relieve stress and improve health. Regular exercise, for instance, has been shown to improve one’s overall mood, and meditation, a practice whereby people focus on paying attention to their experiences in the present moment, can improve mental health as well. If, like most people, you’re concerned about extending the longevity and quality of your life, it’s not a bad idea to think about the various ways in which your current lifestyle habits might contribute to disease and develop strategies to improve your lifestyle habits.