- Stand Up! A 14 year-long study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that women who were seated for 6 hours a day or more were 37% more liked to die than those who spent less than 4 hours a day on their derrière. Try taking little walking breaks at work, if you have your own office, get up and do a few squats or bends, drink more water and go to the loo more often. Anything you can do to keep moving will be useful.
- Breathe. It goes without saying that if you aren’t breathing, you aren’t living. Taking time out to focus on your breath (slow in for a count of six and out for a count of six) for just a few minutes a day lowers your risk for heart disease.
- Colour up. Each fruit and vegetable comes with its own nutrients and compounds that work together to fight disease. Don’t just stick with potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Over the course of a week, you should reach for a wide variety of foods to guarantee that you’re getting as many disease-fighting nutrients as possible. Get creative and colourful with your salads, smoothies and sides!
- Go nuts for nuts. Eating about 25g, or a small handful, of nuts each day is great for heart health, lowering inflammation and providing fuel for your brain. Again, strive for variety. Walnuts contain almost twice as many antioxidants as other nuts, while research shows that pecans can lower LDL cholesterol.
- Laugh more. Laughter decreases levels of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) which cause inflammation and can disrupt other hormones when too high for too long. Watch a silly movie instead of the news, and take some time out to read a funny blog post or two. I’ve recently discovered http://incurablycurious.com which is great for a giggle!
This is just a short list of the myriad simple, healthy steps that you can take every day to add years to your life, and life to your years. What are you waiting for?
PS: I didn’t even mention smoking… As Brooke Shields once said: "Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."