Yaddah yaddah yaddah…
We hear it in the media, from our doctors, and common sense tells us, too – a healthy lifestyle is good for you. We pretty much all know this, yet somehow most Americans put off the healthy stuff for “tomorrow” (YOLO, right?). The fact is, though, we will all expire at some point. Sorry, morbid thought, but true.
While God is only one who holds the divine blueprint for our life and how it will ultimately end, wouldn’t it be great to know we can do something now to help guarantee (or at least increase our chances), that we can live out our days in good health so we can enjoy our loved ones and all the fun stuff we plan on doing “someday”?
Of course life offers us no guarantees, but we can certainly do things to better our odds. In 2013, researchers at Cardiff University in the UK published the results of their 35-year longitudinal study where they validated the fact that good health works wonders for our bodies (and minds!). The study revealed the 5 most important things we can do to cut our risk of dementia and literally gain a new life.
Here’s the Skinny
So here’s how it went. Subjects of the study were surveyed and given physical examinations, and agreed to have their primary care and any hospitalization records examined every five years. Each person’s health was rated and linked to how many healthy behaviors they had been incorporating into their daily lives.
The results were incredible from a statistical standpoint. There was a 60% decrease in dementia among the subjects who followed at least four of the identified behaviors. Not only that, the likelihood of developing diabetes, heart attack, and stroke went down, too – by 70%! Woohoo! Where do I sign up?!
Do these 5 things!
Over the course of the study, the people who remained healthy all exhibited common behaviors that the researchers concluded played a huge role in their avoidance of health issues later in life. The data showed that even following only four of the five was enough for significant findings (Hooray! So we don’t have to be perfect!).
- Eat nutritious foods
- Exercise regularly (you knew this would be one of them, right) ;)
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol
But those things are hard!
There is a bit of irony in that list. All of them are behaviors that will make our futures more peaceful, more healthful, and from a medical and financial standpoint somewhat easier, although actually doing them is HARD.
I’ll be the first to agree – changing behavior can be anything BUT easy. Especially when we’re talking prevention, those bad words like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even cancer, all seem soooo far off in the distance. But take it from me, someone who was diagnosed at age 36 years young, it’s never too early to take care of business with our health!
Yeah, but…(life gets in the way)
Still, what do most of us do? We use excuses like I have no time, it’s too expensive, I look fine, I have a slow metabolism, I’ll start next week, and on and on. The result? We do nothing, and keep existing in the land of plenty (food, wine, and TV watching, that is).
Not until many of us have one of those milestone birthdays, or a doctor finally gives us orders, do we really take it seriously.
Let’s say we turn that around, have a can-do attitude, and do what is ultimately in our control to take us across life’s finish line in style!
The research has been done, the findings are out there, and the ultimate decision is ours. How about we empower ourselves to make choices today that will renew our lives, energize our health, and prevent disease?
The results will be life-changing.