There are Five amazing habits for a long and healthy life. There are more than five, but these are the important ones.
These are the ones that seem to work best when you do them all at the same time.
This sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t really. I do them every day.
I want to live a long life, but not at any cost. I want to live a long and healthy life. I want you to live a long and healthy life.
I don’t want to have to follow multiple complicated rules and life plans. I just want a way to maximize my chances of getting to 100 or older, and still be physically and mentally healthy.
I’m guessing that you’d like to do that too.
The five amazing habits for a long and healthy life
These are the super important things that need to be done to increase the chances of living a long lifespan and a long health span.
One without the other just won’t be good enough. Who wants to make it to 100 if the last 20 years are a battle with Alzheimer’s disease or cancer?
- Eat a low carb diet, or a keto diet
- Practice intermittent fasting
- Exercise, especially resistance training
- Spend time with Friends
- Spend time outside in the sun
Of these five things, the most important are the first two.
You cannot outrun a bad diet. You can’t make up for a hot dog and donut lunch by going for a run. It doesn’t work that way.
You need to think about how much you want to stay healthy. By that I mean become as healthy as you can right now and minimize your chances of becoming ill in the future.
You need to think about how long you’d like to live if you could be healthy for your whole life.
In other words, you need to be motivated because this is going to involve change, and all change takes a certain amount of work.
Before you check out the keto diet or think about a gym membership, you need to get very clear about why you want to make these five changes in your life.
Sure, you want to live a long and healthy life, but how badly do you want to do that?
I have personal experience of the devastating consequences of dementia. I’ve witnessed how this disease robs a person of their old age, and makes the lives of their loved ones pretty near impossible too.
I’ve seen once able, funny, clever people struggle to remember what day it is, or where the bathroom is. I’ve seen too many people who do not even know when they need the bathroom.
And I know I don’t ever want to be where they are.
I’m not old yet, but when I am, I want to be able to enjoy my life. I want to be able to look back on my achievements, and enjoy my time with my friends and family.
I don’t want to be sick, or in pain and I definitely don’t want to suffer the cognitive decline that is reaching sky-high levels all around the world.
And I don’t want this to happen to you either.
Becoming sick or disabled in old age is now so common that we think it’s normal, but it’s not.
There was a time when old people mostly stayed wise and functioning up until close to the very end of their lives.
Now it’s almost accepted that we’ll need full time nursing care for 10, 20 or more years before we die.
Why is this?
The modern diet is making us sick
The modern diet of most of America and Europe, and most other countries too, has become very different over the past 50 years.
In the middle of the last century, the vast majority of people ate all their meals at home. Ready meals weren’t a thing and really the only opportunity to eat out was by purchasing a snack at a roadside vendor.
Most people never set foot in a restaurant, and fast food hadn’t been thought of.
Everyone ate their meals in the house, and mostly ate only at mealtimes.
There was breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. No snacks, cookies, sweets or bottles of soda.
Food was generally meat and vegetables. A cake would be a rare treat, and it would be part of a special meal.
A housewife would purchase butter, cream, milk, eggs and vegetables in season. Fruit would be an occasional treat, and again it would be seasonal.
Meat was expensive, and so was bought in small quantities and less often than fish.
Food was fried almost always in either butter, lard or tallow.
Everything on the menu was local, in season, natural and more or less fresh.
It couldn’t be more different today.
The average diet of today
One of the earliest changes to the human diet began with the introduction of seed oils in the early part of the 20th century.
These oils were not part of the food chain at all, but were originally used to produce soap. Once a way was found to solidify these oils, products such as margarine and cooking oils were made.
These were sold on to housewives as being more “healthy” than the butter, tallow and lard that was being used at the time.
So successful was the advertising of these new “foods” that within 4 years, seed oils and margarine had completely taken over from the natural fats that had been used for centuries.
It was not until the 1990s that the alarm was rung on the dangers of these new products.
As if this wasn’t enough bad news for the standard diet, sugar consumption went through the roof too.
Sugar is now in just about everything. Cakes, cookies, candies and ice cream are obvious, but sugar is also in ready meals, bread, deli meats, drinks, sauces, sausages and breakfast cereals.
When you choose to reduce or cut out sugar – a super healthy choice – you have to literally read every label on everything you buy.
And there’s more….
Most people snack. They snack a lot.
Cakes, candies, ready meals. Popcorn, ice cream.
It’s sadly not uncommon to graze more or less all day, and to frequently eat as much food in between meals, as we do during actual meal times.
Nearly all this extra food is in the form of carbohydrates, and mostly the worst type of carbs – simple carbs.
This has a devastating negative effect on our health. One of the things that over eating carbs causes is inflammation.
If you’re not to sure of why inflammation is a serious, and life shortening thing read What is inflammation in the body?
Inflammation is the number one condition that you want to reduce if you want to live a long and healthy life.
For a long and healthy life you need to follow a low carb or keto diet. These diets limit the amount of carbohydrates you should eat each day.
We now eat far more than three meals a day. In fact, some nutritionists have been pushing the idea that four, five or even six small meals a day are healthy.
Do they know that we are designed to fast from time to time? Do you know that we’re designed to fast?
The single most healthy, cheap, well researched and effective thing we can do for our health after taking care of our diet, is to fast.
We are designed to fast, and during times of not eating our body is able to renew or repair our cells, and reset our entire immune system.
Fasting triggers an amazing rejuvenating and healing process within our body known as Autophagy
Our metabolic rate increases, and we lessen our chances of developing a long list of very serious diseases.
For a full explanation of fasting read:
You’ll have two of the five habits for maximizing your chances of living a long and healthy life covered.
The evidence is overwhelming. Exercise will help you to live a healthier, longer life.
One of the ways that it does this is by triggering autophagy which was mentioned in the earlier point.
All exercise is good. A brisk walk around the park or climbing a local hill will get you out of the house and using your body.
The trick is to find an exercise that you enjoy, and expect to start slowly. It takes a little time to build up to a regular routine.
Don’t be put off by this, every little helps and within weeks most people will be able to do enough exercise to benefit.
Normally, about 90 minute sessions two or three times a week is enough.
It’s a myth that you have to almost live at the gym to reap the benefits that exercise will give you.
On top of this, exercise, especially resistance training builds muscle mass which is naturally reduced as we get older.
Some of the major benefits of resistance training are that it will:
- Build muscle strength and tone
- Build muscle size
- Improve bone density and strength – reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Improve joints
- Improve flexibility
- Improved mobility and balance
- Weight management – as your muscle to fat ratio improves, your metabolic health will increase.
Cognitive function and mood are also both improved.
People with depression and anxiety have found that two or three sessions of training each week helps with these conditions.
For more information about exercise read Build muscle on keto with resistance training
It has long been known that those with the greatest social networks live longer and are healthier than people who spend too much time alone.
That isn’t to say that everyone who lives alone is doomed to illness. It simply means that we all need to make some effort to engage with the people around us.
If you have a family, try to spend some time with them, or ring a friend and arrange a day out if it’s not possible to be with relatives.
The old cliche of joining interest groups still works.
An art group, a walking group or the gym are all possibilities. It’s always possible to find something that suits you and your interests.
These groups are centered around an activity, and so even if you’re not one for doing much talking, you could still enjoy the company of others while you focused on what you’re doing.
If you have a friend, nurture that friendship and make time to be together. Laughter really is good medicine, and will help to keep you healthy.
Spend time outside in the sun
We’ve all heard about the dangers of too much exposure to sunlight, and the need to wear a sunscreen. However, there is evidence that this advice has gone a little too far.
Sunlight is good for us. It helps us to make vitamin D, which in turn enables us to absorb calcium which keeps our bones strong.
It lowers blood pressure and has been linked to longevity in several studies including this one .
The trick seems to be in getting out into the sunshine a little and often. Obviously you’ll need to consider your skin type, and where you live.
Use these times to be without your normal sun protection to gain all the benefits.
Who doesn’t enjoy spending a little time in the warm sunshine. Add a friend or two and you’ll be doing your health a lot of favors.
If you make a point of practicing all five together, you really will be maximizing your chances of living a long and healthy life.
You may find that one or two of them take some learning and practice, but the benefits couldn’t be greater.
The good news is that you won’t have to wait long before you’re reaping all the health gains that these five habits will give you.
Within a few weeks of eating low carb or keto, you will feel more relaxed and focused. If extra weight is an issue for you, then the ability of these diets to manage weight loss are second to none.
They are both super efficient ways of losing weight and not regaining it, while preserving muscle mass.
The keto diet has the added benefit of putting you into ketosis, which has multiple additional health benefits.
Fasting, when practiced with one of these diets will super charge those health benefits, and reduce your risk of developing many serious diseases as you get older.
Throw in a few exercise sessions a week and you will be amazed at how quickly you’ll be feeling healthier than you have in years.
All that will be left for you to do will be to spend a little time with a few friends in the sun, and you will firmly on the path of a long and healthy life.