by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Sure exercise is correlated with positive self-image, improved physiological health and fitness, enhanced physical appearance, improved emotional and cognitive health, better social relations, and lower morbidity and mortality rates. But a recent set of facts from Men’s Health magazine’s website caught my attention. It’s all about adding years to your expiration date, which you must admit, is one of the key reasons we are all exercise enthusiasts. These five simple steps, according to the website, can add up to 22 more years of life when followed carefully.
1. Salad over soup. That’s right, just one cup of raw veggies a day can add 2 years to your life. Better be raw though to be sure you are getting all of the antioxidants in the vegetables. Cooking, it seems, saps up to 30% of those good-for-you antioxidants. Avocados, walnuts, green veggies, water, berries, green tea, red wine, beans, melons and chocolate all have been known as “anti-aging” foods as well to include in your diet.
2. Shrink your BMI. That’ll put 3 years on your lease on life. But keep that BMI of yours between 25-36 and you’ll be cutting short your life by 3 years due to the potential of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and colon cancer.
3. Go nuts 5 days a week. That is, munch a bunch of nuts, about 2 ounces, 5 days a week. Those hard-shelled fruits of some plants having an indehiscent seed can give you another 3 years.
4. Add healthy, close, friends. Remember, your ever-increasing network of REAL LIFE close riends need to be in good health—it’s contagious. Social connections improve your health. And this can mean adding 7+ years to your life. Laugh and hug as much as possible.
5. Aging isn’t so bad. Think like that and you’ll add another 7 ½ years to your life. At least that’s what Yale University found in a study of positive thinking among older post-retirement adults. Smile more, keep on working, and volunteer! Always having purpose is critical to long life. Always look on the bright side, and rid yourself of any fear.
When it comes to longevity, America isn’t doing so great. Here are some comparative statistics to consider:
- Spain: 79.08 years in 2002, 81.07 years in 2010
- Australia: 80 years in 2002, 81.72 years in 2010
- Italy: 79.25 years in 2002, 80.33 years in 2010
- France: 79.05 years in 2002, 81.09 years in 2010
- Germany: 77.78 years in 2002, 79.41 years in 2010
- UK: 77.99 years in 2002, 79.92 years in 2010
- USA: 77.4 years in 2002, 78.24 years in 2010
Want to push those numbers up here in America? Reduce stress by not even seeing life’s events as stressful in the first place. After all, whether you are hard on yourself or easy on yourself, the outcome, eventually, will be the same.