Live a long, healthy and carefree life as much as possible – that’s what we all want. Genes play a crucial role here, but so does our lifestyle. Diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep form the four pillars that can have a positive impact on our health. So if you want to do something good for yourself, you should pay special attention to them.
The inhabitants of the Japanese island of Okinawa are considered to have the people with the longest average life expectancy. Okinawa is also called “the island of the 100-year-olds”. The diet of the residents may play a special role: lots of fruit and vegetables, seafood, algae, bitter lemon (Goya), little meat, fat and sugar, no processed products and plenty of vegetable proteins. The Mediterranean cuisine, also known as the Mediterranean diet, is one of the healthiest diets in the world. Not surprisingly, it’s not all that different from the eating habits of Okinawan islanders. The cuisine, which originally came from southern Italy and Greece, is particularly typical: lots of vegetables, fruit and legumes, nuts and seeds, virgin olive oil, little dairy products and a preference for white meat.
Exercise Keeps You Healthy
If you move a lot, you significantly improve your health. Sport strengthens the immune system, reduces stress and prevents cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. You don’t have to become a competitive athlete. Even a short walk every day is enough to significantly increase life expectancy. This is the result of researchers from the Norwegian School of Sport, who evaluated eight studies with a total of over 36,000 people with an average age of 63 years and an average observation period of 5.8 years in a meta-analysis. The study also showed that those who spent more than 9.5 hours a day sitting had an increased risk of dying prematurely.
Relaxed Through Life
In hectic everyday life, stress and excessive demands are not uncommon. And this also has a negative effect on health. If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should therefore make sure that you take time out regularly, relax sufficiently and keep your own stress level as low as possible. So-called “stress management” can help with this. Because if you are regularly exposed to stress, your body and mind are in a permanent state of alarm. The result: You feel increasingly exhausted and numerous diseases are encouraged.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
The body needs sleep to regenerate. Insufficient and bad sleep can have serious consequences for our health. Sleep disorders are among the most common complaints in Germany – but they are essential for a healthy life. You can improve your sleep with these measures: Make sure that your sleeping rhythm is as consistent as possible, and set a regular bedtime. This keeps the “internal clock” in tact. Alcohol and nicotine have a negative effect on sleep. Therefore, avoid these stimulants in the evening if possible.
The spatial conditions also have an effect on sleep. You sleep better in darkened rooms because the so-called sleep hormone melatonin is produced in the dark. So make sure to turn off the lights and close the curtains just before bed. It also makes sense to switch off bright lights in the evening.
The four pillars of nutrition, sleep, exercise and relaxation form the basis for a long and healthy life. However, there are other things you can do to stay fit as you age. For example, regular “fitness training” for your memory will help you to stay mentally agile. “I’m packing my suitcase” is not only a popular children’s game, but also stimulates brain power. In addition, we should always try to learn something new: a language, an instrument or a sport.