Live Longer: 15 Minutes = 3 Years

No it’s not bad math. It’s the results of a study recently reported in Lancet’s.  In Taiwan, 416,175 people were studied from 1996 through 2008.  The study found that the low-level activity group, people who did moderate exercise like brisk walking for 15 minutes a day, increased their life expectancy by three years.  They also had a 14 percent reduction in their overall mortality risk.

People who exercised more, showed even better results.

walking

Currently it is recommended that we exercise anywhere from 30-60 minutes per day.  For some people that is just too much.  Between juggling work/school, commuting, family, etc., time can be a very precious commodity.  Knowing you should exercise and being able to find the time can be two very different things.

So while more exercise can give more improvements, it’s good to know that even carving out 15 minutes a day can have significant benefit.  Pretty much everyone can find 15 minutes to go do some brisk walking.  It doesn’t require fancy equipment, although a good pair of shoes is recommended.  You don’t need to invest precious time getting to and from a gym.  Just go out the door and walk briskly for 15 minutes.

Often people start an exercise program, but find that they just don’t have the time to keep up the routine. Then they stop everything. Exercise becomes an all or nothing proposition. While it is better to have a comprehensive program of weight lifting and aerobic work, it’s good to know that even doing a little can produce solid results.

So if you don’t have time to do the full gamut, see about adding those 15 minutes daily.  You might wind up with more energy and find the time to do even more. But at least you’ve still done something good for yourself.

 

Healthy Aging

Aging is inevitable. How we age is open to lots of options. The other day I saw a friend’s family picture taken over the holidays. It showed twp generations, the older group being in their 50s and 60s, and the younger generation in their 30’s. My friend was part of the older group, but looking at the picture you would have put her in with her younger relatives. It was quite the pictorial testimonial for what a healthy lifestyle can look like from the outside.

One of the underlying causes of many of the so-called chronic diseases of aging–like arthritis, high blood pressure, adult-onset diabetes, and plaque in the arteries–is inflammation. While inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism to protect against threats and help with repair, internal chronic low-level inflammation can wreck havoc with the body.

So how do you tell if this is happening to you? Are you highly stressed, have joint and muscle stiffness, fatigue easily? Do you have adult onset diabetes or high blood pressure? Of course other things could be behind these symptoms and conditions but inflammation is a definite possibility. A definitive way to determine if you have inflammation would be to have a blood test that measures C-Reactive Protein (CRP).

The best way to avoid or eliminate chronic low level inflammation is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stay physically active, eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep, and make time to have fun.

Common causes of inflammation

  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Wheat
  • Trans fats
  • Excessive weight
  • Insulin resistance

Ways to eliminate inappropriate inflammation include:

  • Manage stress. Exercise, go for a walk, stop and take deep breaths.
  • Eliminate allergens. If you are reacting to certain foods, either eliminate them from your diet or try an allergy elimination technique like NeuroModulation Technique (nmt.md).
  • Avoid sugar. Decrease (or ideally) eliminate sugar from your diet.
  • Avoid processed foods. These foods usually contain high amounts of trans fats that wreak havoc with the body, even to the point of changing the very nature of your cells.
  • Get more omega-3 fatty acids. Increase the amount of wild caught fish that you eat. Nuts are also a good source of omega-3s. Or take a good quality fish oil.
  • Increase anti-inflammatory foods. Eat more of these foods that have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Fruits especially berries
  • Vegetables
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Onions
  • Fish (wild caught) For a more complete list, check out Dr. Weil’s food pyramid, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html
  • Move more. Exercise is a very important component to decrease inflammation. It can lower the excess stress that actually will cause inflammation. It can help reduce weight, and excess fat actually has chemicals that promote inflammation. It helps decrease insulin resistance. It will increase circulation and better enable the body to eliminate the accumulation of inflammatory chemicals.

So while aging is inevitable, we have some choices about how that will occur. Eating in a way that nurtures the body, decreasing stress, exercise, eliminating allergies will go a long way towards ensuring that we not only get to those golden years, but we enjoy them.