Resilience Tips: Four Easy Ways to Live Longer
By Sandy Davis, a.k.a. "The Resilience Guy"
Four Unhealthy Behaviors that Are Life-Threatening
Four common unhealthy behaviors can cause a marked acceleration of your aging process. If you smoke, eat a lot of junk food, drink too much, and/or are physically inactive, you are likely to age much more rapidly than if you were to avoid these harmful habits. If you sustain all four of these unhealthy behaviors over time, you are likely to shorten your life span by as much as 12 years.
In other words, indulging in any of these four unhealthy behaviors can result in your becoming seemingly older than your chronological age. When you indulge in all four of these risky behaviors, you are apt to become someone who is effectively as much as 12 years older than others your age, and you have an increased risk of dying that much sooner.
New Research Findings on Longevity
These are the findings of a study published in the April 26, 2010 issue of the Archives on Internal Medicine.* Based on tracking nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, researchers were able to assess the mortality risks associated with each of the above four unhealthy behaviors. They also were able to assess the increased mortality risks when these unhealthy behaviors are compounded.
The researchers found that when they compared those subjects with all four risky behaviors with those who had none of them, the “all-cause mortality risk” was equivalent to being 12 years older than your chronological age.
The researchers concluded that “the combined effect of poor health behaviors on mortality was substantial, indicating that modest, but sustained, improvements to diet and lifestyle could have significant public health benefits.”
In other words, by adapting a healthier lifestyle, you can reap many significant benefits, including living longer and in better health.
The Four Risky Behaviors
The specific behaviors that the researchers identified as causing increased mortality risks were: (1) smoking tobacco; (2) drinking more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men, and more than two daily drinks for women; (3) getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and (4) eating fresh fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily.
Ramifications for Your Own Longevity and Resilience
The above new research findings affirm what we already know intuitively:
The more you avoid unhealthy behaviors, and the more you embrace a healthy lifestyle, the better your quality of life is apt to be, and the longer you are apt to live. It’s a simple matter of taking great care of yourself.
If you currently are indulging yourself in any of the above risky habits, you’d best take stock of whether the price you’ll end up paying is worth it. Do any of those behaviors bring you such satisfaction and joy that they are worth shortening your life and/or diminishing the quality of your life along the way?
The other side of the coin is much shinier: If you refrain from all four of the risky habits, and, instead, intentionally replace them with healthy habits, you can become effectively younger than your chronological age.
When you keep your lungs clean, when you don’t abuse your organs with alcohol (or other chemical stimulants), when you eat well, and when you exercise vigorously on a regular basis, you can continuously rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Over time, you can actually “get ahead of the curve.” You can retain your own youthfulness even as you age chronologically.
How would you like to be 12 years younger than your chronological age?
It’s possible. I know some individuals who have attained such youthfulness. Do you know any? Are you one of them?
Call to Action
Depending on your current lifestyle, you may need something between a gentle nudge and a rude jolt to get you to take action.
If you want to extend your youthfulness and become a model of great personal vitality, here’s a straightforward challenge for you:
Focus on at least one of the four risky behaviors identified above, and make a commitment to shift at least one of those behaviors away from diminishing your health and shortening your life. Start to do just one thing differently—every single day—in order to move towards improving your health and lengthening your life.
The choice to take on this challenge is yours, and yours alone. The quality and length of your life will depend on what you choose. The above research findings confirm this.
It’s that simple.
“Unless you change your direction, you’re likely to end up where you are headed.” – Chinese Proverb
“It’s not that some people have will power and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” – James Gordon, MD
For More Information:
If you would like more information on how to take on and sustain a proven combination of self-care habits and simple daily practices that can keep you young, vital, and resilient, check out http://www.resiliencemanual.com.
* Here’s a link to a Summary of the article entitled Influence of Individual and Combined Health Behaviors on Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Men and Women by Kvaavik, Batty, Ursin, Huxley, and Gale:
You are welcome to re-publish the above article in its entirety either on a web site or in a blog, providing you do not change the article and you include the following attribution in its entirety:
Copyright © 2010 Alexander M. (Sandy) Davis. To find out more about Sandy Davis and the resilience-related guides and services he offers, visit www.ResilienceWorks.com. To subscribe to his free monthly e-newsletter, send an e-mail to Subscribe@ResilienceWorks.com. FYI, he’s “The Resilience Guy.”