Fit for life
10 steps to a longer, healthier life.
1. Make health one of your top priorities.
Making your health a priority is one of the best and
most practical choices you can make to lead a
longer, healthier and happier life. Be responsible
for your health because in many ways, the decisions
you make every day will affect your health in later
People often focus on career and financial
objectives when they're young, but it's important to
keep health the number-one priority. The reality is
that as you get older, you can't enjoy what you've
worked for if you don't have your health.
Set goals to achieve good health. Think of feasible
resolutions in areas where you need improvement. Do
you need to change your diet? Do you want to be
physically active? Know what needs to be worked on
and make long and short-term plans. Team up with
2. Eat right.
At every stage of life, healthful eating and active
living help people feel their best, work
productively and lower their risk for some diseases.
Nutritionist recommends grain products (rice, corn,
bread, cereals), vegetables (dark green, leafy and
yellow), fresh fruits, reduced-fat milk products
(skim milk, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese), lean
meat, fish, poultry and legumes (monggo, beans). Cut
down on fats (oils, butter, bacon, mayonnaise) and
sweets (creamy pastries, rich desserts, ice cream).
Recommends 60 percent of total calorie intake be
derived from complex carbohydrates (bread, rice,
pasta, cereals and vegetables), 10 to 15 percent
from lean meat and low-fat dairy, and 20 to 25
percent from fat.
3. Exercise regularly.
Exercise is probably one of the best things you can
do to age successfully. The benefits are endless,
and can include improved blood and oxygen
circulation, increased muscle mass, weight control,
better balance, enhanced flexibility and greater
Regular physical activity cuts your risk of
premature death, stroke, heart attack, high blood
pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression and
anxiety, falls and broken bones, osteoarthritis and
some forms of cancer.
Children ages 2 to 6, most women and some older
adults : 1,600
Average adult : 2,000
Older children, teenage girls, active women and most
men : 2,200
Teenage boys and active men : 2,800
Exercise enhances your mood, and can also help you
sleep more soundly.
Doctor recommends aerobic exercises for at least 30
minutes three times a week. Walking and running are
two popular forms of aerobic exercise. Exercise will
help treat diabetes as it burns stored sugar. If you
are middle-aged or older, consult your doctor before
engaging in exercise, particularly if you have a
chronic health condition. Start slowly.
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
One's weight has to be within the normal range.
A good way of determining whether you're overweight
or underweight is by measuring your body mass index.
BMI is another tool for helping you judge your body
weight and whether you're at risk for health
problems. Multiply your weight [in pounds] by 704,
then divide the product by the square of your height
[in inches] :
Weight = 110 Ibs
Height = 5' 2" (or 62 inches)
BMl = (110 x 704)/(62*62)
BMI = 20.1
Your body mass is normal if it ranges from 18.5 to
24.9. You're already overweight if it's between 25.0
and 29.9, and obese if 30 and above.
Being overweight or underweight increases the risk
of health problems. Ask your doctor for help in
determining ideal proper calorie intake depending on
your age, gender and activity level. Try to meet
your calorie goal by watching what you eat. Know the
calorie content of foods you often eat by referring
to a calorie table or by reading the nutrition
information on the label.
One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you
need to lose weight, you can cut 500 calories a day
from your meals and you will lose 1 pound in a week.
Or you may opt to burn the 500 calories by
increasing physical activity. Never go on crash
diets; instead, set realistic weight loss goals that
would help you lose weight gradually and more
5. Manage stress.
Stress can be mild or severe, short-term (acute) or
long-term (chronic). The sources of stress are
varied, but one of the most common is work. There
are also situations in everyday life that bring
seemingly unrelenting pressures, which can cause
chronic stress, such as relationship problems,
financial troubles, loneliness and health worries.
The link between stress and illness has long been
Manage stress by:
• Simplifying your life
• Using humor to reduce tension
• Practicing relaxation techniques like deep
• Clearing your mind
• Praying or meditating
• Setting aside personal time
• Starting a hobby
• Cutting down or eliminating caffeine consumption
• Taking a vacation
• Reading a good book or seeing an uplifting movie
• Establishing a support network of friends and
6. Love your heart.
Take care of your heart by leading a healthy
lifestyle or, as doctors put it, making lifestyle
modifications. Eat balanced meals; exercise; avoid
smoking, drinking too much alcohol or taking
prohibited drugs; and manage stress. Recommends
eating foods that are low in cholesterol and high in
Drink lots of water and eat fruits and vegetables.
Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure or
hypertension usually has no symptoms, which is why
it has been called the silent killer. Hypertension
results in the narrowing of blood vessels. The
higher the blood pressure, the greater tile risk of
heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
7. Get regular checkups.
Many diseases are treatable when detected early.
Pay attention to your body and watch out for
symptoms of disease. Get periodic screening for
chronic, serious illnesses, such as diabetes and
common forms of cancer.
8. Quit smoking.
Change your diet, exercise, and practice stress
management techniques, since many smoke when under
stress. You may need a personal plan to help you
quit smoking. Find support groups or go for
individual counseling with a trusted physician,
psychologist or counselor.
9. Reduce your alcohol intake.
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure.
It also can harm the liver, brain and heart.
Alcoholic drinks also contain calories, which matter
if you are trying to lose weight. If you drink
alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount-one
drink a day for women; two drinks a day for men.
What counts as a drink? Twelve ounces of beer
(regular or light, 150 calories); or 5 oz of wine
100 calories); or 1.5 oz of 80-proof whiskey (100
10. Foster intimacy and loving relationships.
Study after study throughout the world show the same
thing: People who feel lonely and isolated have a
300 to 500 percent increased risk of premature death
and disease. Not only from heart disease, but from
all causes when compared to those who have a sense
of love and intimacy, and connection and community
in their lives.