Tips for a Long and Healthy Life

FullSizeRender-1When I started my journey towards a healthy lifestyle, I decided it was going to be a long-term commitment to myself to feel better and stronger each day. While I try my best to stay the course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can feel overwhelming. I try to get the weekly recommended amount of physical activity, eat veggies, and get plenty of sleep, but sometimes I fall off the wagon. I get busy… and Netflix…and cake. The struggle is real.

Recently I’ve noticed that I have been pretty hard on myself when I feel like I can’t get the “perfect” workout done. I’ve become so focused on the short-term struggles that I have lost sight of my long-term goal of a long, healthy life. In an effort to stay the course on my journey towards a healthy lifestyle, I’ve done the only two things I know to do when face a problem: 1) I talked to my sisters, and 2) I turned to science for answers. After consulting my sources, I have come to the reassuring conclusion that I’ve been making things way too complicated. Small health changes in the short-term can lead to significant rewards in the long-term!

Here are some of the take home messages I’ve learned about healthy lifestyle choices that are helping me stay motivated (in case there any friends out in cyberspace who are struggling to start or maintain a healthy lifestyle….and because I love sharing science):

  1. Move more, sit less. Physical activity is an important aspect of maintaining well-being. Until I turned to the literature, I was under the impression that physical activity meant working out. As it turns out, there are two components to physical activity: regular workouts and limiting excessive sedentary behavior (e.g., sit less).  Sitting for long periods of time has emerged as a risk factor for poor health outcomes such as diabetes  and cardiovascular disease. The good news is that moving more and sitting less can be easily worked into a daily routine. Small changes can make a big difference over the long-term. I’ve been incorporating some fun workout suggestions from our friends at Chobani. Having a delicious 100 calorie snack or even something as easy as playing with your kids for 23 minutes can go a long way!

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Way to keep moving Baymax!

  1. Healthy lifestyles are associated with longer and happier lives. Amanda recently shared a report with me from the Stanford Center for Longevity . This report states that individuals who live longer, happier lives tend to be individuals who adopt healthy lifestyles. It was very motivating for me to read that making small healthy choices such as getting enough sleep, eating more vegetables, and moving more could help me lead a longer, better quality life.
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Veggie Cobb salad with baby kale, cucumbers, quinoa, summer squash and avocados. Yum! Choices like this can help us live a long healthy life.

  1. Social engagement is another way to improve well-being and longevity. Making new friends and joining a community of other individuals who share my love for healthy living, Disney, and all things crafty has been one of the best side effects of my journey towards a healthier life. I was excited to learn from the Stanford longevity report that social engagement, such as participating in a community and developing relationships is also associated with longer and happier living! This means that decisions to show up to ballet rehearsal, or complete a runDisney race, or have a chat with my sisters about a new recipe are also cultivating an additional predictor for a longer, happier life!!
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Social bonds are a vital part of long, healthy lives.

 

Well, friends, I think that’s all the main points I’ve learned so far. If you have any tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle please let me know in the comments section. I am always looking for ways to stay motivated!

-Christine

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