SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – As the new year begins, we all get a year older. As we get older, taking care of yourself and staying in good health gets more and more important. Lifestyle medicine expert, Dr. Kien Vuu, joined us in studio to share self care health tips for longevity.
1. Meditate. Meditation is important for relieving stress and known to increase the length of telomeres – cell markers for longevity. Meditation is also known to activate genes to lower inflammation and increase immunity.
2. Exercise. Epigenetic research demonstrates that exercises that include increases lean muscle mass – weight lifting and high intensity interval training – promotes longevity. One study demonstrated that people who performed 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, enjoyed greater longevity benefits and 31 percent less risk of dying during the 14-year period compared with those who never exercised. If 10 minutes is all you got, spread that one several times over the week.
3. Sunlight. Sun Exposure May Increase Lifespan. A 20 year long study of almost 30,000 women in Sweden demonstrated that those who had more time in the sun lived longer than those who had less sun exposure. Those with the greatest sun exposure gained an extra 7 months to 2 years of life.
4. Don’t smoke and avoid second hand smoke. Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers. In addition, there are significantly increased risks of heart disease and lung cancer to second hand smokers.
5. Community. Spend time with a friend or family member. One of the best strategies to a long and healthy life is connectivity and positive social relationships. Numerous studies have led to wide-ranging conclusions about the importance of social relationships to individual good health and longevity.
6. Hobbies. Doing activities that bring you joy has been demonstrated to have positive health benefits; it has been shown to reduced stress as well as activate genes to increase immunity and decreased inflammation.
7. Sex. Although there is no direct evidence that more sex leads to a longer life, many ancillary studies promote this correlation. Sex releases endorphins and other hormones in the body, increases feelings of intimacy and bonding which you get with community, and combats feelings of loneliness and depression. Staying sexually active also has physical, stress relieving, social, and mental benefits. Sex has been shown to increase immunity, decreases risks of prostate cancer and heart attacks in men, and reduce stress and blood pressure – all suggesting benefits to longevity.
8. Take a multivitamin. A paper published in 2006 in the Clinical Interventions of Aging discusses “in observational studies, people with a high intake of antioxidant vitamins by regular diet or as food supplements generally have a lower risk of major chronic disease, such as myocardial infarction or stroke, than people who are low consumers of antioxidant vitamins”.
9. Drink Tea. Tea has anti-cancerous and cholesterol lowering properties. The antioxidant-rich tea leaves protect the brain from free-radical damage, strengthen bones against osteoporosis. Also, as demonstrated in studies published in the Journal of American Medical Association, tea also lowers risks of death from all forms of cardiovascular diseases.
10. Get a massage. Many studies have shown benefits of massage to include relieve pain and stiffness, boost immunity, reduce anxiety and depression, lower stress and blood pressure, and increase circulation.