2014-01-24 / Sports

Jen’s Fitness Forum

By Jen Font de Bon

Many investigations have been dedicated to understanding why populations of certain communities have notably longer average life expectancies than others.

Studies reveal that different habits and situations can substantially influence the span and quality of our lives.

Last week we discovered eating habits of centenarians. Today, we will look at physical factors that will help keep our bodies young and extend our years.

1. Stand and move! People who sit for more than six hours each day increase their chances of dying from any cause by almost 50 percent. Regularly engaging in low-impact activities wards off chronic disease and is essential for keeping the mind sharp, metabolism going, lungs healthy and blood flowing.

If you spend a lot of time in a chair, make it your goal to reserve five to ten minutes every hour for movement. Some examples of low-impact activities are gardening, cleaning, biking and cooking. If you work a desk job, walk to your coworkers’ offices instead of phoning, take the stairs and get outside during your lunch break.

2. Pick up the pace. More vigorous exercise a few times each week won’t combat a sedentary lifestyle, but should be used in conjunction with regular lowimpact activity. Get to the gym, try new classes, and swim, run or bike outdoors. Mix it up and speed it up. If time is tight, don’t fret! Even just fifteen minutes of more intense daily activity can increase your life expectancy by up to three years.

3. Sleep soundly. Getting six to eight hours of sleep per night not only boosts energy and brainpower, but also adds years to your life. If you have trouble falling asleep, try shutting off technology at least an hour before bedtime. Also, avoid consuming caffeine after noon, no big meals at night, and sip on a cup of chamomile tea before cuddling up. Once you develop good sleeping habits, stick to the routine. Going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day will help you keep a healthy cycle.

4. Rinse, floss and brush. Practicing good oral hygiene isn’t just for keeping a bright smile and fresh breath. Taking care of your mouth and teeth also helps promote healthy heart and brain function.

5. Wash your hands. Regular hand washing is one of the best ways for you to rid yourself of germs, thereby preventing sickness and infection. Do it a few times each day, especially before and after certain activities, such as eating, coughing, touching animals and using the toilet.

6. Turn off the TV. Watching too much television can be just as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. An Australian study showed that adults over 25-years-old lose 22 minutes of their life for every hour spent in front of the TV.

7. Stop smoking. Smoking damages almost every organ in the body and leads to numerous types of cancer. Many findings prove that smoking lowers one’s quality of life and cuts it short by an average of 13 to 15 years. Quit smoking for a multitude of immediate and long-term benefits, including lowered blood pressure, improved circulation, and better heart and lung function.

Your lifestyle is up to you. Start making healthy choices today by following the tips above and trying out one of my spin/fusion classes at Suncycle Studios!

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