And here's the final installment of my three part series detailing those lifestyle behaviors most associated with longevity and good health. Implement all nine on a daily basis, and you're fast on your way to vibrant living.
Healthy Habits 7- 9:
We all know that too much stress affects our bodies; we can feel the drain in our energy. Keeping excessive stress at bay is key for maintaining balance in your life. Stress management includes things like getting a massage, going for a walk, taking a break from work and calling a friend – anything that helps you let off some steam, so all of that tension isn’t bottled up inside. Any of the other life affirming habits we've discussed may overlap with stress management. Sitting and visualizing reaching your goals can be both spiritual and rejuvenating; a brisk walk counts as both exercise and stress relief; eating a diet rich in antioxidants may ward off cancer or infection. Be sure to schedule some time in your day, week, and month for self nourishment.
Now here’s something I find really interesting. Did you know that scientific studies show a link between heart disease and gum disease? It turns out that there's more at stake than just our pretty smiles if we don't practice good oral hygiene. In addition to dental loss, pain, chronic infection, and periodontitis (inflammation of the gums), poor dental care puts us at risk for heart disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with chronically inflamed gums are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease. What's more worrisome, you can have chronic gum disease and be unaware of it, which underscores the need to see your dentist regularly for evaluation. So, if you want to keep your heart healthy, brush, floss and see your dentist.
And lastly, my dermatologist friends recommend that you apply sunscreen, SPF 15-30 with UVA and UVB protection, over all sun-exposed areas of your skin, including the underside of your chin and nose and your hands and ears, at least once daily. This applies even when it's overcast and even if you plan on staying inside all day. You are still exposed to cancer causing UV radiation through the windows in your home, office, and car. If you’ll be exercising, working, or swimming outside, you should reapply at least once, even if your sunscreen says it is water or sweat proof.