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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

How long would you like to live? Most people want to live a long life if they can be relatively healthy. Informed choices about food, exercise and sleep can result in a healthy lifestyle, leading to a longer, healthier lifespan.

In a New York Times article, “12 Tips for Living a Longer Life” (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/fashion/dan-buettner-longevity-tips-b...), one of the tips for living longer was healthy eating. The authors advised cooking mostly vegetarian meals that are heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, 100% whole-grain bread, oatmeal and avocados. Other diet suggestions were to use olive oil instead of butter, eat meat and fish sparingly, and choose soy milk instead of cow’s milk. We know that good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. However, sometimes we make poor nutritional choices.

According to another article, “Tips for a Longer Life” (https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/tips-for-a-longer-life), we have the power to change many of the variables that influence the length of our lives. One way to increase the odds of a longer life span is to maintain a healthy weight and body shape. Tips for fighting weight gain were:

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Line up support, such as a doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, friends, or family.

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Make your kitchen off-limits after dinner.

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Begin with a small change, such as a goal oftrimming 5% to 10% of your starting weight.

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Watch the balance between activity and caloric intake. A moderately active person who gets about 30 minutes of exercise a day needs 15 calories of food to maintain each pound of body weight. Also, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended 60 to 90 minutes a day of moderate activity.

For me, exercise is easier during the spring, summer and fall, and I tend to exercise less during the winter months. I should do better.

Marie Suszynski’s article, “Live Longer with Enough Sleep” (https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/live-longer-with-enough-sleep.aspx), stated: “Studies have consistently shown that sleep deprivation or sleeping less than five hours a night can lead to major health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and ultimately an increased risk of mortality.” Since our bodies and situations are different, people need different amounts of sleep to be healthy. For most people, a healthy amount of sleep is seven to nine hours a night. Sophia Bush made a good point when she said, “Your body tells you what it needs, and if you sleep past your alarm on a Saturday morning, it’s probably because you need the sleep” (https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/sleep-quotes). When I can sleep late or take a nap, it’s a good day!

Finally, Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, said, “To me, the bottom line is: Live a reasonably moderate life and you’ll be OK” (Daily News, 9A, September 29, 2019). Jessie Lichauco, 105-year-old Cuban philanthropist, said, "The whole secret of life is moderation – a little bit of everything" (https://www.healthline.com/health/secrets-longevity-tips-centenarians#6). Moderation – making healthy choices – helps us avoid extremes and thereby, may increase our lifespans.

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