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How to Live a Long, Healthy and Disease-Free Life

How to Live a Long, Healthy and Disease-Free Life

A large part of what you’ve heard about nutrition and health is nonsense.

In some cases, you have been intentionally lied to by greedy people trying to sell you something.

In other cases, though, people (including some health professionals) are simply misinformed about how to be healthy.

Guidelines are often crafted based on “policy” instead of science, the ridiculous war on saturated fat being a prime example of that.

Lifestyle Diseases Are Preventable

If you are willing to look past the advice that is constantly given by these misguided people, such as “food doesn’t matter, only calories” then you will discover that some of the most common diseases we face today are preventable.

They are called lifestyle diseases for a reason because our unhealthy lifestyle causes or contributes to them.

In this category falls everything related to the metabolic dysfunction that happens with a western diet and sedentary life. This includes obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, some types of cancer, and many, many others.

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If you follow the directions outlined below (for life), chances are that you will avoid these diseases, and possibly even reverse their progression if they have already started developing.

Don’t Smoke, Drink or Do Drugs

First of all, if you’re a smoker, alcoholic or a drug addict, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries.

I know that giving up these addictions is extremely difficult. If you can’t stop on your own, seek professional help or go to rehab. It works.

Eat Healthy

Nutrition can get pretty complicated at times, but eating healthy is actually really simple.

First of all, avoid sugar. As we know, sugar ain’t healthy, so it is usually one of the first items we take off our menu not only to help lose weight but for overall health. Trans fats, industrial oils, and processed foods should also be avoided.

Eat meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and oils. If you can tolerate them, then full-fat dairy and some non-gluten grains are okay as well.

If you are overweight, then the best thing you can do to improve your health is to lose weight. For that, low-carb diets are very effective although there are also other approaches that work well for some people.

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The best eating plan for YOU is the one YOU can follow in the long term.

Skipping meals from time to time (intermittent fasting) and eating a bit less (calorie restriction) are methods that are very likely to increase longevity. In fact, these are two of the main tactics employed by immortalists.

If you don’t get much sun, then you might want to consider Vitamin D supplementation. A Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many diseases, and avoiding it may prolong your health. To know if you need this or not, ask your doctor to measure blood levels of 25(OH)D.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important, and if you don’t eat much fish or grass-fed animals then you should consider a fish oil supplement.

Other supplements that may be useful include Magnesium and Vitamin K2. These are often lacking in modern foods.

Exercise Regularly

The importance of exercise can not be overstated. It is one of the foundations of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise makes you feel better and helps prevent a massive range of diseases.

If you have a desk job, then you need to consciously make time for exercise, at least 3 times per week.

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There are certain activities that are more efficient than others, but in my opinion just doing something is critical.

If you like going to the gym, go to the gym. If you like walking, walk. If you like swimming, well.. you get the picture.

Instead of focusing on calories, aim to improve your physical fitness. The calories are negligible anyway, and exercise helps you lose weight by other means.

Optimally, you would do both weight training and some type of cardiovascular exercise. Some sports and group activities incorporate this automatically.

It is incredibly important to do something you enjoy!

Sleep Well

In the busy western society, sleep often suffers. We tend to be too busy and distracted to get the sleep that we need.

If you suspect you might have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, which is fairly common, then see a doctor. It is treatable.

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Some tips to improve sleep:

  • Don’t eat or drink in the last few hours before bed.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at a similar time each day, including the weekends.
  • Sleep in a dark room, with no lighting.
  • Dampen your lights a few hours before bedtime.
  • Expose yourself to bright lights in the morning, preferably from the sun.
  • Do not ingest caffeine after 2-3PM.
  • Eat healthily, and do regular physical exercise.

Avoid Stress

Like sleep, stress is something that comes with our lifestyles.

Avoiding unnecessary obligations is very important. In other words, simplify your life as much as possible. Be organized, and avoid procrastination.

Meditation can be very effective to relieve stress. If you are a stressed person, then that is something you should definitely look into.

As with other aspects of life, eating healthy and exercising can work wonders for stress.

Take Care of Your Personal Life

Be close to your family and friends. Take good care of your hobbies. Set new goals and achieve them. Have fun.

Having a sense of purpose in life is incredibly important to stay happy and healthy.

Conclusion

If you follow these methods, your chances of living a long and healthy life will be greatly improved.

These are all things you have probably heard of before, but it can help to have them all in one place.

More by this author

Jae Berman

Health Writer

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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