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In just a few months, the U.S. will celebrate National Pet Month (May 1-31). Though the UK tends to celebrate their furry family member in April, there is general consensus around the world that life wouldn’t be the same without the family pet. More than just companionship, pets have a huge impact on a person’s health. Some studies have taken the impact of a pet and found it could improve longevity. The increased physical activity, mental health, and sense of belonging and purpose have all been factors in arriving at this conclusion. However, pets depend on you to be healthy enough to take care of both the two-legged and four-legged family members, so working towards a long, healthy life needs to be a priority. And while humans have longer life-spans than the average animals, you should proactively try to live longer to make sure you are always there for your fluffy pals. Though you can enroll in an anti-aging protocol that will reinforce your potential for longevity, here are some simple ways you can address your lifestyle to make the results more effective.
Increase Your Physical Exercise
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Exercise is key to maintaining all areas of your health. While many want to rely on it for weight management, it can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the top cause of death around the world. Improving your physical activity reduces your risk of premature death.
Reduce Your Stress
After years of adulting, it can be hard to recognize stress anymore, chalking up experiences at work or home as normal. However, when you experience stress, your body releases the hormone called cortisol. When there are consistently high levels of cortisol in the body, it makes it easier for your body to store excess fat and it can increase your blood pressure. These two factors significantly increase your risk of developing heart disease. Regular exercise can help counter the release of cortisol, but taking up yoga, practicing mindfulness, or giving yourself some extra attention can all aid in reducing your stress levels.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Across the nation, the opioid epidemic is claiming thousands of lives. People use illicit drugs, legal drugs like marijuana (in some states), and alcohol for recreational use and sometimes for mental health challenges or experiences they are looking to escape. Using these substances increases your risk of premature death, both from overdose scenarios and the long-term effect the substances have on your body’s organs. There is some research suggesting that limited to moderate consumption of red wine can strengthen your heart and health, potentially for the antioxidant properties found in grapes.
Eat Less Meat
You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but reducing how much red meat you consumer could increase longevity. Studies have found an increased risk of cancer and heart disease with heavy red meat consumption. Try changing up your diet for healthy proteins like lean meats and fish. You can still have a steak, just it back to once a week or less than three servings of red meat each week.
Get a Social Life
Those who spend their free time in front of the television are slowly decreasing their life expectancy. Television promotes disengagement from the world and social activities, but it also encourages inactivity. These two things can shorten your lifespan. One study found that every hour of television you watch after you reach the age of 25 decreases your life expectancy by 2 minutes. Studies have also found that those who spend more time socializing or hanging out with their peers feel increased pressure to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Cook Your Own Food
When you stay at home and eat in, you are taking firm control over your diet (not to mention your finances). Eating out will fill your body with additives like saturated fats, food dyes, and sugars. A healthy weight is often a factor of longevity, and obesity or being overweight contributes to body illness, disease, and breakdowns that lead to premature death. Cooking your own food lets you control how much salt include, what kind of vegetable selections you have, and what kind of nutrition you are including in one meal.
Whether you have a pet that makes you smile or you have a network of friends that keep you laughing, living your life as an optimist can improve your longevity. Those who feel good about their life take a more proactive role in promoting good health measures and seeking medical care or advice when something seems out of place. Facing the world with a smile and can-do attitude can improve your chances of living longer and enjoying the journey.
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