Personal Development

5 habits that will boost your health and longevity

5 habits to increase health and longevity

How can you keep yourself healthy, have the energy to lead your company, and be present for your family? It’s not by taking that latest pill or supplement. It involves a radical change in mindset in how we perceive and achieve optimal health. Think of it as a pyramid of health.

health pyramid angelo falcone

Source: Dignity Integrative

Let’s start at the most foundational.

1. Behaviors

The base of the pyramid is made up of the behaviors we institute every day.

From the moment we wake up in the morning to when we lay our pillow on our bed at night, our life is a series of decisions and choices we make.

  • When we get up in the morning do we scroll through Instagram or, worse, check email?
  • Take the first 5-10 minutes of being awake to set our intentions for the day. That may be taking the time to meditate, do breathwork or pray.
  • When stressed, a few clearing breaths or a moment of gratitude reduces blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels.
  • Going outside to change your location or taking a quick walk around the house or office can be a way to reset physically and mentally.
  • What is your “wind-down routine” at night to ensure a good night’s sleep? The answer is not to look at your cell phone just before bed!

The above suggestions are a partial list of behaviors that can impact the quality of our day, the energy we must have to tackle challenges, and the ability to ensure appropriate sleep to recover and re-energize.

2. Nutrition

After our overall behaviors, there is nothing that will impact our health more than the decisions we make about the 2,000 calories (2,500 for the average American) we place in our mouths every single day.

  • Focus on whole foods with a variety of plants that will provide energy for our body and brains, lower inflammation, and contribute to resilience — not ultra-processed foods high in sugar and/or refined grains. These lead to higher inflammation, fatigue and diabetes.
  • Is your breakfast a balance of healthy proteins and fat or a carbohydrate-laden muffin sure to spike blood sugar?
  • Minimize saturated fat intake for lower cardiovascular and diabetes risk.
  • Ensure that you are getting adequate healthy protein throughout the day.
  • Practice intermittent fasting for 12 hours a day (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) to allow time for rest and focus on cellular repair.

These simple, but not easy, decisions lead you to a path of optimal health or chronic disease.

3. Movement

Movement and exercise sit in the center of the pyramid for good reason.

Consistent daily movement is essential to maintain metabolic health and stave off chronic diseases like cancer and dementia. It also provides energy and vitality for you to tackle the challenges of life.

  • The easiest thing for anyone to do is to start walking for 20-30 minutes a day.
  • Easier still is to get up and move for a five-minute exercise “snack” six times a day to get in your 30 minutes of walking.
  • Adding in basic resistance training — bodyweight squats, lunges, planks, and pushups — builds muscle and helps with controlling blood sugar.
  • High-intensity activity only twice a week for 10-15 minutes has been shown to maximize cardiovascular function as well as lower risk of dementia.
  • There is good data that shows going from no regular activity to 30 minutes a day will lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia by 50%.

The perfect balance to strive for is a combination of lower-level daily activities combined with intermittent high-intensity and strength-building exercises.

4. Supplements

Supplements are changing in our society. Some call out supplements as unnecessary.

However, with changes in the nutritional value of food and the rise of ultra-processed food as part of our normal diet, many are realizing there is a need for targeted supplementation for optimal health.

Here are 4 beneficial supplements:

  • A general multivitamin and/or multimineral (especially as we age).
  • Magnesium is a key co-factor for numerous biochemical reactions and over 50% of people do not get enough from daily food intake.
  • Vitamin D is critical for bone health and immune function.
  • Omega 3 fats, which are found in fatty fish or via supplementation, should be consumed twice a week.

5. Drugs

Finally, there are drugs. Pharmaceutical medications have saved countless lives over time. Yet, there is a clear acknowledgment that pharmaceutical interventions are greatly overused.

This includes the overuse of antibiotics, which has led to drug-resistant infections and medication side effects resulting in millions of injuries and deaths in the U.S. alone every year.

And this doesn’t include the 100,000+ deaths due to drug overdose every year, which often start with a simple narcotic prescription for a short-term painful condition leading to addiction.

These are just some reasons why pharmaceuticals should be a small percentage of a health and longevity plan.

The challenge, as many of us know, is structuring these habits to become the norm — the way we live over time. Yes, it is hard work, but it will pay off with improved health and longevity, more energy to tackle each day and a happier outlook on life. The choice is yours.

Want to learn more? Then be sure to register for Angelo’s discussion, Lead Longer: The Busy Executive’s Workshop for Longevity, which includes a facilitated Q&A session with Vistage Chair Brenda Lawrence.

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Category : Personal Development

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About the Author: Angelo Falcone

Dr. Angelo Falcone is the Founder of Dignity Integrative Health and Wellness, which focuses on a holistic approach to maximizing health span and longevity. For the 25 years prior to founding Dignity Integrative, Dr. Falcone treated tens o

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