By Kevin Bryan
New Years is a time of joy for many people, when whole families and communities will gather in one place to celebrate the advent of the next year. Many people enjoy New Years because they hope to start anew and make the next year better than the last. Whether it is due to more life experience, financial stability, or just plain optimism, people are excited to walk into the next chapter of their lives. Life expectancy in the United States, according to the World Health Organization, is 76 years for males and 81 years for females. As seen from these statistics, life is a long road, and there are some important tips to live a healthful lifestyle that you should keep in mind into this new year.
1. Make sure never to smoke or take drugs. According to the CDC, ten years are removed from a person’s life expectancy when they smoke because of the health issues in the lungs that they can cause. Furthermore, do not attempt to smoke or ingest drugs, as they cause people to fall into the trap of addiction. In 2018, there was a spike in drug overdose in the U.S., with 63,632 related deaths. These deaths were most common between adults of age 24 to 44.
2. Make sure to eat healthy by having meals that balance carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Eating 5 servings of whole grains, 2 servings of fruit, and 3 servings of vegetables per day make up a healthy diet. Meat provides many nutrients that are essential for bodily function, but remember that protein can be gained from plant-based sources as well, including nuts, beans, and seeds. Fats should never be excluded entirely from the diet, but should be eaten in moderation. Healthy fats can be gained from eating avocados, nuts, and eggs.
3. Having an active lifestyle is also extremely important. As people get older, they often feel that they cannot exercise as much as they used to. While this may be true in most cases, any form of exercise is healthy for the body, and the more the better. Studies show that exercising 12.5 hours or more a week can reduce risk of early death by 37%. These hours may seem daunting, but the results are also drastic. Just taking small steps in the right direction can improve your situation tremendously. Instead of driving, choosing to walk or bike is a healthy habit. Instead of staying at home during vacation, going out to hike or sight-see are activities that can benefit your overall health.
4. Finally, a tip that has become more important in recent years is maintaining good mental health. Mental health can be kept in good shape in many ways. Making sure to have good connections with family or with the community can lead to a more enjoyable life, and according to a Harvard Study of Adult Development, those that were happiest about their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Having people to stimulate your mind through conversation or activity can delay mental deterioration as you get older.
With these suggestions in mind, I hope that you can carry out your new year in a better way than you did in 2018. Continuous self improvement is crucial to living a long and healthy life in which you can enjoy the presence of others whom you love. Happy New Year!