7 Steps to a Longer (and More Fulfilling) Life

11/22/19
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If you’re thinking about ways to stay feeling younger, you’re not alone. Although you can’t turn back the hands of time, you can take some practical steps to keep ticking longer than the expected 78.7 years. Check out these ways to add years to your life and life to your years!

  1. Make exercise a priority. You already know that you should hit the gym or exercise regularly, but do you know why you should? Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women. If you’re interested in protecting yourself, exercise is our greatest defense. Get your heart pumping by biking with your family or working out with friends. Regular exercise protects again heart- and life-threatening diseases.   
  2. Schedule family and friend time. Getting together with close family and friends helps improve your emotional state. It can also lower your blood pressure, reducing your risk for heart disease. If everyone is busy, spend some quality time with your pets. Their companionship can also help lower your blood pressure and help you relax. 
  3. Ask questions. Want an easy way to get more involved in your health? Become your physician’s right-hand man (or woman)! It’s important to trust your doctor, but you also need all the facts. If you’re unsure about anything concerning your health – ask. No matter if you believe a medication error has been made or you want to learn more about alternative treatment options, your physician should be open to talking with you about your concerns. You know your body better than anyone – and you are your best healthcare advocate. 
  4. Think positively. Easier said than done, but studies have shown that optimism generates energy, keeps pain at bay and can even help you live longer! By choosing to look on the bright side (instead of dwelling on the negative), you’re helping lower stress levels. And while you’re at it, find some funny videos or reruns of your favorite sitcom to help lighten your mood. Laughing out loud helps you relax and sends signals to your body to release endorphins – your body’s version of ibuprofen. 
  5. Attend church – regularly. Staying involved with your church and adhering to religious principles is beneficial to your health according to several studies. Benefits include a drop is stress levels, more stable emotions, and an increase in a positive attitude. What’s more, connecting with likeminded family and friends can help you build resiliency in difficult times. 
  6. Take a chocolate break. That’s right – that delight of eating a little bit of chocolate every day may be better for you than you think! The National Institutes of Health say consuming a moderate amount of this heavenly substance (think a few M&Ms or a 25-calorie Hershey’s kiss), may help protect against heart disease. Instead of milk chocolate, reach for the dark chocolate varieties that include more heart disease-fighting antioxidants.
  7. Keep your yearly doctor’s appointment. Want to live longer? Protect yourself by maintaining appropriate screenings for cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. When life gets busy, it’s easy to put these checkups on the backburner. Most screenings for men and women don’t begin until you’re 40 years old but establishing a relationship with a primary care physician earlier in life can help you quickly address unexpected medical conditions and keep your health on track. If you’re over 40, take a few minutes now for a health screening that could save your bones – or your life – later.  

Do you have a relationship with a physician you trust? CHI Memorial Medical Group has convenient locations throughout Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Our network of dedicated physicians provides quality health care for the entire family. Specialties include breast surgery, family and internal medicine, general surgery, gerontology, gynecology, infectious disease, metabolic surgery, pediatrics, pulmonology, rheumatology, thoracic surgery and urology. For a list of physicians in your community, visit chimemorialmedicalgroup.org