Top tips for a long, healthy life
Smart lifestyle choices make a big difference.
November 25, 2020
A long and healthy life spent with family and friends. That’s what most of us want. We believe that healthy choices pave the way to that life. Following are a few tips that can help.
Never smoke cigarettes
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death or deaths that didn't have to happen as soon as they did. If you're a smoker, it's a good idea to stop smoking as soon as you can.
Smoking causes serious health problems, including:
- Many types of cancer
- Heart attacks
- Lung disease
If you'd like to quit smoking, help is available, including free counseling at 1-800-QUIT-NOW and medications to ease cravings. Ask your doctor for help. Stopping smoking is a great way to help yourself.
Lower your chances of having an accident
Make safe choices in daily life, such as:
- Wear seat belts
- Wear a bicycle helmet
- Store firearms safely
- Use extra care when riding a motorcycle
- Don’t drink too much
- Don’t use illegal drugs
- Use safety measures with hobbies like skydiving or mountain climbing
Exercise every day
Plenty of evidence shows that regular exercise can help you live longer. If exercise is new to you, start slowly. Even 15 minutes of exercise per day can help your overall health.
Lose extra weight
Being overweight can cause many types of medical problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Arthritis (painful swelling of the joints)
There are many online resources for eating healthfully, including:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safety at work
Some jobs can have more chances for an accident to happen. It's important to make sure you follow safety rules on the job and that you get proper training.
If you have questions about safety rules and training at work, speak to your supervisor or talk to a government resource, such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or the Department of Labor.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can lead to health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Alcohol use disorders
- Digestive problems
- Liver disease
- High blood pressure
- Immune system (the part of the body that fights illness) problems
- Feeling low or depressed
- Worrying more than usual
It's best to limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.
Getting rest and relaxing can help your health in many ways, such as:
- Lessening the amount of stress hormones (natural chemicals in the body that help it work)
- Slowing your heart rate
- Slowing your breathing rate
- Helping you sleep better
- Helping with your blood sugar levels
- Improving how well you sleep
See your doctor
See your doctor regularly. Talk about how to stop illness and health problems before they start. Make sure your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are checked.
Keep in mind that what you do and the choices you make every day are what matter most. Nobody can do what they should do all of the time. Just try to do your best.
By Ronald O. Watson, MD
- AARP. To Live Longer, Exercise Daily. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Use and Your Health. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Losing weight: Getting started. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov. What is MyPlate? Accessed October 29, 2020.
- Mayo Clinic. Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration. About OSHA. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- Smokefree.gov. Speak to An Expert. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Accessed October 29, 2020.
- United States Department of Labor. Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed October 29, 2020.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.