Hey, I’d like to share a post by Terry Grossman, MD, that I found on http://www.everydayhealth.com. No arm-twisting here (except for #5, maybe) on getting busy on these…
Things You May Already be Doing to Increase Your Longevity
We often hear advice about things we can do to improve our health and increase our longevity. For instance, we’re told to avoid sugary snacks, exercise more, lose weight and control stress. For many of us, this involves making changes to our normal routine. But how many of the following things are you already doing to increase your longevity?
- Engaging in a hobby
- Going on vacation
- Sleeping in on the weekends
- Connecting with other people
- Flossing your teeth
Engaging in a hobby. Having a hobby that engages you physically as well as mentally is particularly beneficial. Hobbies needn’t be expensive either. Gardening, bird watching and photography are examples of hobbies that will bring you outside and get you moving. Psychologist Michael Brickey, author of the book Defy Aging, notes that hobbies reduce stress and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Going on vacation. Vacations aren’t optional, they’re essential to optimal health. According to the Framingham Heart Study women who took vacations every six years or less were eight times more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than those who vacationed twice a year. Another study of men showed that those who didn’t take at least one vacation were 21 percent more likely to die and 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. While people in Great Britain average 25 vacation days per year and the French 37 days, the average American worker only takes 14 days of vacation.
Sleeping in on the weekends. During sleep the neurons in the brain become less active and undergo repair. Without repair these nerve cells are unable to function properly with the result that people find that they have trouble with memory and concentration. Many other tissues of the body also undergo repair during sleep, and sleep is also important for proper hormone balance. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2008 Sleep in America Poll found that Americans slept an average of six hours and 40 minutes a night, while most people need an average of 7 ½ hours. Sleeping an extra hour or two on the weekends can help make up some of this deficit.
Connecting with other people. In his National Geographic book The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Dan Buettner found that one characteristic of regions of the world with greatest longevity are the strong interconnections between family and friends. Studies have found that social isolation has health risks on a par with cigarette smoking!
Flossing your teeth. According to studies done at Emory University by the Centers for Disease Control, common gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis lead to a 23 to 46 percent higher rate of death. Gum tissues are common sites for inflammation, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Flossing your teeth every night removes the bacteria that cause the inflammation and it has been estimated that daily flossing can add as much a 6.4 years to your life.
You are probably are doing several of these things already. With a few simple changes to your routine you can be doing all of them and increase your health and longevity.
Terry Grossman, M.D.
For more information about longevity medicine visit Dr. Grossman’s Web site