Our lifestyle habits have recently been placed under the microscope and for many, this was a welcome opportunity for intrinsic reflection. Our health has played a pivotal role in the recent global crisis. Recent months have revealed that the way we care for our health, both mentally and physically, must change if we are to learn to live with a virus in our midst.
For many, lockdown unleashed profound mental stress and highlighted a need for immunity boosting habits. The shift towards self-care, inner wellness and forming a healthy work/life balance was overwhelming. With little control over external factors, is returning to a simplified, health-focused way of living the new way forward?
In our recent blog, we explored ‘The Power of Forming Positive Habits on Our Wellbeing,’ and how this can have a profound effect on your organisational skills, productivity, physical and mental health.
Continuing our focus on forming positive habits, we delve into the five behaviours that have shown a clear and positive association with good health and long life. And what better time to transform your lifestyle into a healthier one, than in times of change.
Healthy lifestyle habits
Want to live longer? Don't we all! Well, there are some bad habits we can shift and good ones to form to live a healthier and longer life.
Don’t take it from us. Based on evidence from multiple studies, like the 2018 Harvard study which looked into how maintaining five healthy habits — never smoke, exercise regularly, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy body weight — can extend your life by up to 10 years.
To break it down a little further, Harvard scientists trawled through 34 years’ of data – a treasure trove of information – from the longest living people and revealed that the following lifestyle habits rose to the top of the list.
Lifestyle habits Harvard scientists say increase your lifespan by a decade:
- Never smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Limit alcohol intake
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
How to form healthy lifestyle habits?
Are you ready to change up your lifestyle and add some extra time to your golden years? Us too!
Here's some tips to help swap out bad habits for healthy ones:
Smoking and the health risk is something everyone is aware of, but a reminder certainly doesn’t go astray. Harming nearly every organ in your body, smoking is the most common cause of death and disease that is entirely preventable.
For many, smoking becomes so ingrained in life, that a need for a cigarette may not be the nicotine addiction, but simply a force of habit. Switching up your routine is one of the most effective ways to break the bad habit.
Understand your triggers and replace your smoking with healthy habits. If you tend to reach for a cigarette after dinner, go for a walk instead and make this part of your routine.
Reaching for a cigarette can become an automatic response to stressful situations. Here’s some ways to manage your stress and control the urge to smoke:
- Physical activity
- Breathing exercises or mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga
- Taking time out for yourself
- De-stressing aromatherapy
- Speaking to someone
You probably have a good sense that exercise is good for you—and you’ve probably heard the “positive impact on your heart.” But if you’re like most people, that’s not enough motivation to get you to break a sweat regularly.
The good news is we all have the potential to clock up our 3.5 hours of recommended exercise without even realising it. To kick-start your new healthy lifestyle habit – MAKE IT FUN!
We’ve put together some tips to help get you moving.
Dance: Dance away the extra weight. Many fitness centres offer dance classes specifically designed to sculpt and tone your body.
Get active with friends: Take a yoga class with friends and share a healthy dinner together afterwards.
Get outside: Bust out of the gym and enjoy a walk, bike ride or swim. Ready to get a little more advanced? Try stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking or surfing as a challenging core workout.
Run or walk for a good cause: Make your workout more enjoyable by setting a goal to train for a charity walk or similar event.
Celebrate your wins: While you might start exercising with major change in mind, try setting yourself small, incremental goals that you achieve in a shorter period of time like losing one pound a week for a month or setting a personal best (PB).
Want to learn more? Learn the last three habits for a longer life in our 'Healthy Lifestyle: 5 Habits for A Longer Life Pt 2’.