Are you leading a low-risk lifestyle, or do you choose unhealthy activities? A recent Harvard study found that five healthy lifestyle choices substantially reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
The study followed 42,000 men ages 40 to 75 over 16 years. They found that if you carry out these five lifestyle activities then your risk of heart disease is 87% less than those who don’t do all five activities.
- Body mass index of less than 25
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
- Exercise moderate to vigorous 30 minutes a day
- Moderate or no alcohol
Even among men who were taking medication for cholesterol and high blood pressure, 57%of the heart attack and heart disease deaths could have been prevented by leading a low-risk lifestyle.
The bottom line: The report states “A healthy lifestyle is an effective, non-pharmacological approach to reducing heart disease in men. Beneficial changes in life style even during middle age or later in life will also lower the risk of coronary disease.”
We All Knew this about Kids. Research from Denmark.
“Making sure children play outside will double the amount of physical activity they get” said Dr Lars Anderson, London MD “and that reduces their future C/V risks.” He added, “We don’t need to be getting kids running in the gym on treadmills. We need to encourage kids to play outside like they used to.”
There are plenty of reasons not to exercise. We know this from personal experience.
Why exercise? Being in good shape is important to your health and may even extend your life. It fends of disease, you sleep better, you have less stress, and you have less pain because your joints are stronger.
“If fitness came in a pill, everyone would take it”, said Dr. Hawkins.
Of course, it doesn’t come in a pill, and most of us don’t stick with a program the way we should. But if we improve our fitness even a bit, the results can be profound. It goes beyond feeling poorly and not feeling winded while climbing the stairs.
For older people it’s the key to independence, choice, and having control of your life.
It’s fair to say that the dream of a long life doesn’t have much appeal unless it is coupled with good health. AARP asked their staff to write about the most scientifically demonstrable ideas for feeling vital all your years.
Ta-daa – the only one that really passed muster is maintaining a regular exercise routine. So your mother was right when she said “Put down that Twinkie and go out to play.” (Today she would say put down that video game and go outside.)
Want to get started? Take a hike – or a walk. It can be done in any where, doesn’t require equipment, and doesn’t cost money. You can even do it barefoot (but we recommend a good pair of walking shoes).
For successful walking ideas from AARP go to www.aarp.org/walking.
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