Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back!
That’s right! The cat is out of the bag. #Science has discovered 5 keys for health & longevity.
This is groundbreaking news! Ground breaking in the sense that we’re realizing this guy may have had it right long ago.
And the major keys are *Drum Roll Please*
1. Be physically active
a. “Walking is man’s best medicine” –Hippocrates.
b. The current physical activity recommendation for adults is 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
a. “Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” –Hippocrates
b. It’s near impossible to outwork an unhealthy diet. While physical activity plays a role here, we cannot neglect nutrition.
c. What’s a healthy weight? In the study linked below, they measured waist circumference. Generally, the recommendation is for men to be less than 40 inches, and women less than 35 inches.
3. Avoid tobacco use
a. “Smoking sucks for health.” –Not Hippocrates
b. Okay, I don’t have Hippocrates quote about smoking. I don’t think smoking tobacco was invented yet. We’ve known for some time though that smoking is bad for us. I did some searching and apparently U.S. physician Benjamin Rush wrote about the dangers of tobacco use in 1798. During the 1920s the first reports linking smoking to lung cancer appeared (link).
4. Limit alcohol consumption
a. “Everything in excess is opposed by nature.” –Hippocrates
b. In other words, drink responsibly. Maybe that’s not quite a direct translation. Nonetheless, many of us have probably experienced alcohol in excess being opposed by our bodies. Interestingly, moderate alcohol consumption (no more than 1 serving a day for women, and no more than 2 servings a day for men) may have some health benefits.
5. Sleep well
a. “Sleep and watchfulness, both of them, when immoderate, constitute disease.” -Hippocrates
b. Keeping in line with the last quote, moderation is key. I think it’s safe to say lack of sleep is more of a common problem than excessive sleep for most of our busy American lives. It is recommended adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
These 5 behaviors are really powerful. Together, they were able to prevent 80% of heart attacks in men (link). The effect was cumulative meaning each behavior was beneficial on its own, and together the benefits compounded. Unfortunately, only one percent of study participants engaged in all 5 behaviors.
Therein lies the point. We know what the essential behaviors for health are. We’ve known some of them for quite some time (Shout out to Hippocrates). However, knowledge alone is not enough to change behavior. And behavior change is the name of the game. That’s the real secret. Stay tuned for more on that topic in future Wellfie Wednesdays!