How can we stay healthy and live longer?

Valentine’s Day is over. Family Day is over. We are now into seventh week of 2010. February is also heart month. It is time to reflect on what we have done for our mental and physical health to survive the rest of the year. What have we done to keep our heart strong? What people in general think about their health? What are the things they do stay healthy?

I was looking at a survey the Newsweek magazine had done few years ago. The poll of Americans 45 to 65 years old says that people in this age group feel good about their health and their future. They are positive about their physical appearance, sex life, and even the way they manage stress. Seventy two percent believe they will live to be 80 years old, 11 percent believe they will make it to 100.

In 1900, only the lucky few made it to 50, says the Newsweek. Today there are more 50-year-olds than ever before in history, and they can anticipate a full 30 years more, and maybe even longer. To live longer, we have to do many things in life. Misfortune may spoil our plans but life is about planning and hoping for the best. Otherwise how can we live and have fun at the same time.

To some extent, we have control over our own health. Few simple measures like eating right, exercising moderately, quitting smoking and staying involved in our communities can yield enormous benefits.

In the Newsweek poll, 55 percent say they work at being fit at least three times a week; 20 percent say they have a daily fitness routine. Here is a list of what they do:

– 56 percent walk
– 16 percent workout with exercise machine
– 15 percent do strength training and weight lifting
– 15 percent go bike riding
– 10 percent go swimming
– 7 percent go running or jogging.

But we do not live in a perfect world. Many people have no will power or strength to work toward good health. And these people really struggle with some of the barriers. What are the common barriers to good health?

– 48 percent say getting enough exercise is the hardest thing
– 21 percent say giving up cigarettes or tobacco is difficult
– 38 percent have trouble limiting sweets
– 32 percent have trouble cutting down on red meat and other fatty foods
– 31 percent have trouble eating enough fruit and vegetables
– 22 percent have trouble restricting sodium.

What is the worst thing about aging?

Thirty three percent say the worst thing about aging is having more health problems; and 18 percent say it’s having less energy. Middle-aged Americans worry most about cancer, heart disease and stroke. And 35 percent feel more stress in their lives today than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

This poll was taken before we were hit by the severe recession. Some people may have changed their views
since then. But there is always hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for better health. And hope that our elected
leaders will make the right kind of decisions to take us where we can revive our fighting spirit.

But nothing can substitute what we can do for ourselves. So, let us think and work towards a strong mind, strong heart and strong body.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

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