Without our spines, we are nothing other than a jellyfish lying on the floor. This structure keeps us upright and we take it for granted. We have all had those days when we over exerted the day before by picking up a heavy load and struggle to straighten up. Spinal injuries affect more than 40 people per million globally – and these are the serious injuries. This does not account for aches and pains we all experience. It may sound really stupid telling you to sit up straight or walk up straight with your shoulders back and your belly pulled in. But it will keep your core strengthened and keep your spine straight.
Regular exercise to strengthen your core, back and leg muscles help in keeping your spine health. We spend a lot of time sitting down. Use a chair with good back support. When sitting in a chair keep your spine straightened, shoulders back and your head high. Good posture allows all your joints and bones to be correctly aligned so that our muscles are being used properly. Good posture will also decrease the stress on your muscles and joints that surround your spine and give you a healthy back. As you read this article, take note of the way you are sitting. Good posture also helps you to fight off fatigue. When we sit or walk slouched over, we soon become tired. Do yourself and your body a service and straighten up!
We all take our brains for granted and don’t really take time to nourish and exercise it. What would your life be like if your brain did not work or slowed down? We all know that when we do physical exercise and eat a balanced and nutritious diet, we feel better and are healthier. How many people (including yourself) ever say…..I’m off to exercise my brain? Well, you should be doing it daily. Most of us just feel like our brains are just another organ and do not really need our attention until you felt that your brain is not working properly. We need to keep our brains fit and healthy in order for it to function as it’s supposed to.
If you don’t, then the rest of your body is going to feel it. Remember our brains are the master control center of bodies and sends and receives messages allowing us to function. By exercising your brain, you continually enhance the connective tissues that exist between your brain and its neurons. This helps to keep your brain fast and fit. Learn something new every day. By challenging your brain to learn new things daily, you are exercising your memory. By doing these daily exercise routines, it will help to reduce the decline of your cognitive functions such as; your ability to reason, to remember, pay attention, use of language and the ability to keep information. Go on, do and learn something new every day. Play games that allow your brain to solve problems. Life is an adventure, so share it with your brain.
We are all caught up in a capitalist society that pushes us to want stuff, be a “somebody”, get promoted in order to earn more, sadly for many globally it’s just a means to survive. It’s a relentless cycle with very little benefit other than to someone else’s bank balance and to the detriment of ourselves. We have come to accept that working more than forty hours a week is expected and working through your lunch hours, tea breaks of coming in early and leaving late is “normal”. If we keep going at this pace, we are all going to burn out. We need to balance our lives between work, family, health, and harmony. Yes, we have bills to pay, children to feed, clothe and educate.
We need to pay for our shelter and then cloth ourselves to protect us from the elements. But how is this affecting our lives; fatigue, burn-out, emotional and physical breakdowns, reliance on prescription medication to keep us going to just get through the day. Try finding that balance between work and YOUR time. When you leave work – do just that; leave work! Technology has changed our lives and we all have cell phones and it’s become accepted that we need to be available 24/7. This is destroying our lives and our health. Be firm in your time and your space. Switch off. Take time out to play. Take a walk. Throw the ball for the kids or the dog. Be silly with your loved ones. Work is not our entire existence. It is merely a means to an end, and we have forgotten that there is joy in working.
From the moment we can walk and communicate, we start making friends. Friends can make or break us. So it’s best to take the time and effort to make sure the “friends” we have in our lives are the right friends and not ones that cause us strife and grief. There are several life benefits to having friends. They support us, love us, challenge us, and check us. Friends are our sounding boards and our safe space in this world. They love us and they make us laugh and cry. Friends keep us going and keep us moving. They also keep our minds active as they challenge us and help us learn new things or overcome fears. They make us laugh and live.
Friends also influence us and keep us balanced and our lives in check. When things are tough, you have a friend who will go through these times with you as your will for them. We all need to be loved and cared for. When we are young, we collect lots of friends and as we grow and develop as people we realize that some are real friends and will go through life with us whilst others are just friends for a season or a reason (as the saying goes). We learn from friends. We give love and receive love from friends. Our friends give us the support we need to navigate through our lives. Some people have only two “human” friends, but for many, a 4 legged “furbie” are also our friends. You decide who your friends are. Don’t hang out with people who drain the life out of you.
Hard words and rejection from others can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. They can destroy your self-confidence and make you depressed. As you go forward after a negative experience, it can affect the way you approach all future endeavors. You are fearful of experiencing rejection again, and this creates a negative cycle in your life. You can never keep everyone happy. We all have different preferences and varying expectations. Who you are and what you do may offend others, even when the last thing on your mind is to do so. You can’t afford to keep changing your actions to avoid giving offense. A strong perception of your worth is necessary if you don’t want to be affected by the opinions of others.
Your self-worth does not decrease when someone fires you or decides not to be friends with you anymore. It doesn’t change if your boss comes down hard on you at work. Your relationship status doesn’t dictate it. I might bruise your ego a little when you face these situations, but it does not affect your core being. People may try to label you or make judgments, but you should know better. It takes courage and determination to stand strong when people don’t believe in you. Taking on feedback and working to improve yourself is part of the growing process, but be discerning about what you accept. Don’t focus on things you cannot change about yourself, such as the circumstances of your birth or your genetic inheritance. Work on what you can change and don’t fret about what you can’t change.
Spending money on experiences, rather than on accumulating possessions, often leads to a more comfortable life with more memories to treasure. When you’re happier, you will tend to suffer from fewer health problems. We quickly get used to objects we have purchased, and they lose their initial appeal. We then have to buy something new to regain the feeling. Research done at San Francisco State University confirmed recently that people who spend money on experiences rather than objects feel it is better spent. The thrill of purchasing cars, clothing, houses and the latest technology wears off quickly, but memories from experiences can last a lifetime. Going to a spa to be pampered and to de-stress will usually make you feel much better than walking out of a department store with packages, feeling guilty about what you have spent.
Small expenditures of money to eat, go to a concert or a movie with friends are worthwhile, and the positive social interaction makes you live longer. Resist the urge to buy expensive holiday homes, boats, and other items which you can easily rent. When you rent, you can have a good time and then go on to the next opportunity with no further responsibilities. Riding a horse is far less expensive than owning a horse, and it’s riding the horse is the experience you want. Buying gifts for others can bring you happiness. Pick out a unique bouquet of flowers for a loved one or surprise a friend with an unexpected gift. You will make them feel appreciated and this will make you feel better about yourself. Few things can give you a better feeling than bringing joy to others.
Anxiety is very prevalent today and can dramatically affect your health. Heart disease, ulcers and breathing problems and other health issues are associated with anxiety. It’s normal to worry and it’s extremely difficult to avoid worrying about issues such as finances, relationships, and health. But if you’re experiencing uncontrolled, irrational or excessive anxiety, you could suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This can cause social, physical and occupational impairment. Some signs of this anxiety are feeling restless or keyed up, being irritable, having difficulty concentrating, battling to fall asleep, making endless lists and over-planning. A sudden flood of anxiety results in shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, heart palpitations and muscle tension. These symptoms are experienced as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Cognitive behavior therapy may help people to gain control over excessive worrying. It teaches skills to manage anxiety and learn how to take control of their thoughts by actively identifying and challenging them. They can learn how to recognize these thoughts, identify what evidence exists to warrant them, examine whether they are realistic and identify realistic alternatives. Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, are also used to help control the physical tension that comes with anxiety. Medication may be used, along with cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation and deep breathing techniques to help control anxiety. Exercise is also helpful in managing anxiety as it releases brain chemicals that counteract it. It teaches people how to gradually confront situations rather than avoiding them because of the anxiety they provoke.
This can be tricky, as many people have little choice about where they live. We often choose neighborhoods on affordability, and people may have no choice other than to live in a small flat on the tenth floor of a building. With that being said, if you have the resources and means to choose where you live, it can have a surprising impact on your health and longevity. Living in a neighborhood surrounded by junk food outlets will probably make you more likely to eat unhealthily than when you’re living in a place where you have little access to takeaway foods. If any of the people in the neighborhood are obese, you are less likely to live a healthy lifestyle and watch what you eat. If the majority of people are health conscious and value eating healthily, you are likely to have many more options to do so too.
A neighborhood where you have plenty of opportunities to take walks outside and be active is more conducive to good health than one where this is not possible. Exercise is a key component of living longer. Various forms of exercises such as walking, cycling or running can reduce the risk of premature death by up to 12 percent. There is some research that suggests that even running for as little as five minutes a day can reduce this risk. Even the quality of your sleep and your exposure to illicit drugs and alcohol is affected by where you live. If you can get out of a negative environment into one that supports a healthy lifestyle and you have the resources to do so, you should not hesitate.
When you make excuses, you are dishonest with yourself. If you keep making excuses and procrastinating, you will live with constant regret. If you act without hesitating and making excuses all the time, you will accomplish what others cannot do. Success is more about how you respond to life than luck or chance. Bad things happen to everyone, and you can’t make what happened to you an excuse for your lack of success in life. When you procrastinate or make excuses, you handicap yourself.
Rather than risk failing, you create the conditions that make success impossible. Whether it’s learning a new language, taking a cooking class, writing a book or taking a trip to Europe, don’t put it off. Determine what’s important to you and go ahead and do it with no hesitation. If you keep waiting for the right time to take action and make your dreams come true, it will never happen. Fulfillment and a sense of purpose keep people living for longer. Decide not to wait for the perfect time to make changes. If you take the path of least resistance and keep avoiding challenges, you will lack motivation and a sense of fulfillment at having overcome obstacles and prevailed. Commit to making those changes, and you will feel a renewed sense of purpose and live longer.
How often do you look at your phone? Do you stay glued to it for extended periods? Can’t resist taking a peek? Well, many of us check our personal devices several times an hour. It’s become a habit for us to check our messages and emails, but what toll does this take on our lives? It’s no secret that real, face-to-face interactions are reducing in favor of virtual contact and devotion to our mobile phones.
If you want to live a long life, interacting with other people has been scientifically shown to be beneficial. So, get off your device and start interacting with real, live people. If you feel this will be difficult to do, start off by delaying your reactions to your mobile’s beckoning. Then, take a device-free day and think about how you feel. It can be quite liberating. The idea is for your devices to take second place to proper social interaction.
There are no two ways about it, but stress is a silent killer that affects the health and well-being of millions around the globe. Even with all of life’s conveniences these days, we seem to simply be getting more stressed than ever before. One of the biggest stresses in life can be financial. Not being certain of whether you can pay your bills is extremely stressful and can lead to illness.
So, it makes sense that avoiding getting into debt might one way of reducing the stress you experience. This involves avoiding taking out loans, opening credit card accounts, and EMIs. The problem with all these types of debt is the interest that becomes payable on these accounts. You can end up paying a huge amount more in the long-run compared with the original cost of the item. Avoid saddling yourself with debt.
Actually, it’s not only the gym, but it’s also exercising in general. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a million times: in order to stay healthy, you need to exercise. Many of us are employed in jobs that require us to sit for most of the day. The problem is, science says that hours of sitting can be extremely dangerous for your health.
If you work in an office where you sit at a desk all day, take a break at least every 40 minutes, even if you just walk around the office. Another way of working physical exercise into your routine is to take a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting. All you have to do to stay reasonably fit is to take a brisk walk or jog for about 30 minutes, a minimum of three times a week. You’ll live longer for it.
One of the most important things you can do to extend your life is to eat a properly balanced, varied diet. But if your diet is lacking, a multivitamin might be an important addition to your daily routine. The vitamins and minerals in some multivitamins are essential nutrients that your body requires in small amounts to operate properly.
If you aren’t eating a balanced diet, you should not take multivitamins for an extended period as they have found it to be harmful. Taking too much can also be harmful. Changing your diet is a first prize for living a longer life, but there are certain people who should definitely take supplements because they are at risk of deficiency. These include B vitamins, Folic acid, Vitamins A, C, and D for children aged 6 months to 5 years, and vitamin D for a large segment of the population who are deficient.
Research has found that people who work in high-stress jobs that are a dead end, with abusive employers can sometimes turn to alcohol and/or drugs to cope, leading to earlier death. So yes, that job could just be killing you if you use this type of coping mechanism. There is an interesting relationship between people’s careers and the length of their lives.
Studies show that conscientious people live longer because they are also conscientious about their health and personal safety. Persistency and the tendency to meet challenges head-on and with a positive attitude are also related to a long, healthy life. But if you think people who take it easy will live the longest, you’d be mistaken. The people who live the longest are those with productive, meaningful careers. These people remain engaged, continuing to set new goals once milestones have been reached. Striving seems to be important to long life.
If you think because Aunty Joan lived to a hundred, and your grandparents are still in good shape in their nineties, don’t be so sure that you’re going to live a long time. In fact, recent scientific research conducted on twins in Northern Europe found that our genes are only responsible for about one-third of the length of our potential life-span.
So, if you don’t have ancient relatives, this will probably come as something of a relief. It means that two-thirds of our longevity potential is down to other factors such as lifestyle and environment. Some of these factors are exposure to toxins, stress, exercise, diet, medical care, and social relationships. The good news is that all these factors can be altered as soon as we want to. There’s no point in focusing on your genes, even if you have very elderly family members. There’s nothing you can do to change your genetic inheritance.
If you constantly set yourself goals that are hard to achieve, you’re always likely to be disappointed and disheartened. That feeling does no-one any good. So, instead of making a radical change in lifestyle, try taking baby steps. Make one small change at a time. For example, if your goal is to eat more healthily, instead of setting yourself up for failure with an all-or-nothing attitude, try getting up just 15 minutes earlier to eat a healthy breakfast or pack a good lunch for yourself.
If you need to get more exercise, try taking a walk around the block – or further – at lunchtime. Your digestion will thank you, and your cardiovascular health will receive a boost. The thing about small changes is that they’re easy to fit into your routine. No massive change is required, minimizing the likelihood that you will fail to reach your goal.
As we age, and even sometimes earlier on, the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses becomes greater. The problem with these conditions is that they seem to creep up on you, adversely affecting your health a little more each day. These conditions are often called ‘silent killers,’ and for a good reason. The changes that come with conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and diabetes can be undetectable. So much so that it’s easy to develop something like high blood pressure and be completely asymptomatic.
And unless you fracture a bone, you’re unlikely to know if you have osteoporosis. The answer is to have regular medical check-ups and screenings. If you are conscientious about your health, you’re more likely to catch problems early, making them more likely to be solvable. If you do develop a chronic condition, always take your medication according to your doctor’s instructions.
If your life is all about work and chores, listen up. For your mental well-being, and a consequently happier, healthier life, choosing a healthy hobby can’t be beaten. There’s something about making something with your own two hands that has an extremely positive effect on self-esteem, mood, and overall well-being. Hobbies are great for relieving stress, and they get your mind active. They can also get you interacting with others interested in the same activity or hobby as you. That’s also good news for living a longer life.
If you live in a city or commute to one for work, you’re probably breathing in a lot of pollution. A 2013 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that airborne pollution in China might have reduced the lives of 500 million people by 2.5 billion years. The study found that participants who had had lifelong exposure to 100 micrograms of ‘total suspended particulates’ (tiny particles in the air, e.g. pollutants) per meter of air cubed will reduce a person’s lifespan by 3 years.
Although our respiratory system is designed to deal with these tiny particles, some pollutants can get through the body’s defense systems and cause inflammation in the lungs. This could cause breathing problems, make existing conditions worse, and even lead to death. Other substances to avoid include processed foods. Science shows that these foods are drenched in chemicals that are often harmful to our health.