Healthy Choices

Four Things You Can Do to Live Longer

Lifestyle choices greatly affect longevity. Cambridge University researchers studied 20,000 men and women, age 45 and older, and identified four health behaviors linked to longer life: 1) Getting regular physical activity, 2) Emphasizing plant-based foods in the diet by eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, 3) Quitting smoking, and 4) Decreasing alcohol intake.

Persons meeting all four of these basic health principles were only one-fourth as likely to die during the 11-year study compared to those not following any of the four—and lived more than 14 years longer. Notably, even people with existing chronic disease significantly benefited from practicing these behaviors. Even small differences in lifestyle significantly affect your health. Read more at: www.wellsource.org/handouts/live-long-healthy-life.pdf.

Would You Recognize a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting oxygen and nutrients needed to function. Stroke victims have the best chance for survival if symptoms are recognized and medical attention is given quickly. Read about symptoms and stoke prevention at: www.wellsource.org/handouts/stroke.pdf.

Loving Relationships Are Good for You

How often do you hug someone? Do you pat your pet? Research shows frequent loving contact—whether it's between loving partners, parents and children, friends or even pets—can help your brain, heart and other body systems. Positive effects have been linked to the hormone oxytocin, which lowers stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing pain tolerance and perhaps even determining how fast wounds heal. Read how to improve relationships at www.wellsource.org/handouts/HC-Relationships.pdf.

Protect Your Neck and Back

Americans spend more money for treatment of back and neck pain than on just about any other condition. But with all those diagnostic tests and medications, injections and surgeries, people don't seem to be getting better. You can help prevent spine problems by standing straight, learning to lift properly, quitting smoking, getting more sleep, improving diet, losing weight (if overweight), and exercising regularly. Walking and swimming are easier on your spine than running. If you do experience spine pain, try low-tech treatments first. They are less expensive and, in most cases, work. Read more at: www.wellsource.org/handouts/A-Better-Back.pdf.

April 01, 2008 / Health
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