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Living to 100 may be easier than we once thought.

A study printed in the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine (Feb 2008) states that “the probability of a 72-year-old to reach age 90 years was 54% in the absence of 5 key adverse factors.” Those factors are smoking, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and living a sedentary lifestyle. In contrast, having all 5 factors dropped the probability to 4%.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, this study highlights the importance of starting the journey towards a healthier lifestyle. These 5 factors are for the most part controlled by lifestyle & dietary choices that YOU make. Yes, genetics can increase your risk of developing diabetes, obesity and even hypertension. For people with a family history of these conditions, it’s even more important that you begin your new journey today. The future does not have to unfold as is written by your genetic code.

Here are my 7 keys to living a long, healthy life:

  1. Eat right – lots of fruits & veggies. In North America, meat is the centre piece of a meal and veggies are the sides. It should be reversed!
  2. Drink right! When you’re thirsty, reach for a glass of water or make some fresh juice from your juicer. Stay away from the soft drinks and the fake juices out there.
  3. Sleep right. Make sure you get at least 7-8hrs of shut eye at night. Sleep shuts down the mind and body and allows it to repair itself.
  4. Move right. In today’s day and age, many people live an inactive lifestyle. This has contributed to the ever expanding waist lines of North Americans. Begin by increasing the amount of movement you do during the day: park far from your work entrance and walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a brisk lunch hour walk with a co-worker. The goal is to get you moving again! Once you’ve done that, you can then begin lifting weights and start a cardiovascular exercise regime.
  5. De-stress! Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Human beings need a certain amount of stress to function at peak efficiency. The problem arises when we are constantly stressed and have no outlet to dissipate this pent-up energy. Meditation works well for some people as do yoga and qi-gong. For me, exercise seems to do the trick.
  6. Share your life with people you love – family, friends, a spouse and even a pet.
  7. Perform regular check-ups with your health care practitioners and let them know if anything is bothering you. Then try to figure out the cause(s) of the problem(s) together. It’s not enough if you can get rid of the symptoms, you must always try to address the causes of disease.

There you have it folks. The above advice seems simple and many people tell me that they know all this, yet few have taken the initiative towards achieving optimal health. Be good to yourself, start your journey today and you too may live to be 100.

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