Top tips for a long and healthy life

A long, healthy and carefree life as much as possible is what we all want. Genes play a crucial role here, but so does our lifestyle. Diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep form the four pillars that can have a positive impact on our health. So, if you want to do something good for yourself, you should pay special attention to them.

The people of the Japanese island of Okinawa are said to have the longest life expectancy. Okinawa is also called the "island of 100-year-olds". The diet of the inhabitants perhaps plays a special role: lots of fruits and vegetables, seafood, seaweed, bitter lemon (Goya), little meat, fat and sugar, no processed products and lots of plant proteins. Mediterranean cuisine, also known as the Mediterranean diet, is one of the healthiest diets in the world. Not surprisingly, it is not so different from the eating habits of the Okinawan islanders. The cuisine, which originally came from southern Italy and Greece, is particularly simple: lots of vegetables, fruits and legumes, nuts and seeds, virgin olive oil, little dairy and a preference for white meat.

Exercise keeps you healthy

If you move a lot, you significantly improve your health. Sports strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and protect against cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. You don't have to become a pro athlete. Even a short walk on a daily basis is enough to significantly increase life expectancy. This is the result of a research, conducted by the Norwegian School of Sports, where the team of scientists evaluated eight studies with a total of more than 36,000 people with an average age of 63 years and an average observation period of 5.8 years in a meta-analysis. The study also showed that those who spent more than 9.5 hours a day sitting had an increased risk of premature death.

In our hectic everyday life, stress and the excessive demands we place on ourselves are not uncommon. And this also has a negative effect on health. If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to make sure you take time out regularly, get enough relaxation and keep your own stress level as low as possible. So-called "stress management" can help with this. Because if you are regularly exposed to stress, your body and mind are in a constant state of alert. The result: You feel more and more exhausted and you yourself encourage the onset of many diseases.

The body needs sleep to regenerate. Insufficient and poor sleep can have serious consequences for our health. Sleep disorders are some of the most common complaints among modern day people. You can improve your sleep with these measures: Make sure your sleep rhythm is as consistent as possible and set a regular bedtime. This keeps the "internal clock" ticking. Alcohol and nicotine negatively affect sleep. So avoid these stimulants in the evening if possible.

Spatial conditions also affect sleep. You will sleep better in darkened rooms because the so-called sleep hormone melatonin is produced in the dark. So don't forget to turn off the lights and draw the curtains right before bed. It also makes sense to turn off bright lights in the evening.

The four pillars of nutrition, sleep, exercise and relaxation form the foundation for a long and healthy life. However, there are other things you can do to stay fit as you age. For example, regular memory "fitness training" will help you stay mentally sharp. Also, we should always try to learn something new: a language, an instrument or a sport. /BGNES