How to live longer: Five seemingly ‘healthy’ habits that may lead to premature ageing
Centenarian reveals SURPRISE drink that helps her live longer
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The increasing age of global populations is highlighting a pressing need to improve age-related diseases. Not all “healthy” habits are conducive to living a long life, however. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has listed five misleading habits that could be hampering your health.
Walking for exercise
Claire Morrow, a senior physical therapist with Hinge health, a digital clinic for back and joint pain, explained that limiting your exercise to daily walks could be depriving the body of much-needed strength training.
She explained: “Without strength training […] the average person will lose about three and eight percent of their muscle mass per decade after age 30… the rate steepens after 60.
“Muscle loss is associated with increased fall risk; cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia; diabetes and heart disease risk; and even premature death.”
The NHS echoes this advice and recommends that adults aged 19 to 64 do at least two hours of physical strength training a week, and these activities work all major muscle groups, such as the legs, hips, back abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
Using supportive shoes
Overusing shoes in settings that don’t require them can progressively weaken the feet, according to one functional podiatrist.
Emily Splichal, the functional podiatrist in Chandler Arizona, explained that there is a common misconception that shoes offer more support to the body.
She added: “Our toes need to push into the ground to maintain balance, and our foot muscles contract to maintain balance and posture.”
Over-dependence on shoes could therefore lead to loss of sensory stimulation, which the body needs to maintain posture and avoid falls.
Fortunately, walking barefoot for just 30 minutes per day could counter these negative effects, explained the expert.
Drinking water when thirsty
The next healthy habit to watch out for is drinking water when you’re thirsty.
“It’s not the water that’s the problem; it’s the thirst. By the time you get thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated,” explains the AARP.
Mice studies have shown that mild water restriction over the course of their life shortens their lifespan.
The life-shortening effects of dehydration have been put down to a lack of protection against hypertension, heart disease and cancer.
Staying out of the sun
Adequate exposure to sunlight is another crucial component of well-being, as it helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms.
In order to receive signals from the sun, the body should be outside for 15 to 30 minutes every morning, then again in the late afternoon.
Professor Sara Mednick, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, recommends staying consistent with this morning routine to boost cognitive health and enhance sleep quality.
Limiting exposure to screens at least two hours before going to bed can also improve the duration and quality of shut-eye.
Eating nutrition bars
Nutrition bars promise many benefits, but these health claims often conceal their high sugar content.
“Glucose and fructose link the amino acids present in the collagen and elastin that support the dermis,” explains a report in Clinical Dermatology.
When sugar reacts with the proteins, it produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which cause wrinkling of the skin.
Not only do AGEs alter the physical appearance, but they are also markers impacated in many degenerative diseases like atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease and Alzheimer’s.
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