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I love it when a “new study” republishes old information. This just in: four behaviors are correlated with longevity. The behaviors studied happen to be physical exercise, nutrition, alcohol use, and tobacco use.

This is old news. There’s such a stockpile of research on the topic already that we now know that 85% of our longevity is tied to our lifestyle behaviors. Your choices usually determine whether or not you’ll live to see your great grandchildren, not necessarily your genes. The operative word here is choices.

Sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, alcohol overuse, and tobacco use have all been linked with a shorter life span for a long time. Most studies that include exercise usually define “exercise” as something lame like “20 minutes of brisk paced walking.” That’s exactly what I do in Piggly Wiggly every week. It’s not a work out. Even then, exercise is such a powerful health enhancing behavior that the benefits are significant in the studies.

I wonder how long those folks would live if they really got their asses moving? Let’s kick it into high gear and have them run or spin for 60 minutes. If they can’t do that, work up to it by exercising at 75-80% maximum aerobic thresh hold for 60 minutes. Now that’s what I call an “exercise group.” I know that’s harsh, but so is open heart surgery.

Let’s stop spending millions of dollars a year on studying healthy lifestyle behaviors and start living them. If Americans could live a healthier lifestyle we wouldn’t have to worry about health care reform much at all. Employees would be more productive, get sick less often, become more motivated, and experience better moods and cognitive skills. Degenerative diseases would decline. Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes Type II would probably be nonexistent. Pregnant women would experience less PPD and have smarter babies. ADHD would be better controlled. Kid’s academic performance would spike. Health care costs would drop. Our economy would improve because wellness is intricately tied to the health or our economy. It really is that simple.

Lifestyle choices are worth revisiting since most people clearly haven’t heard the news yet (just visit Disney World to get a look at our obesity rate nowadays). Exercise. Don’t smoke. Eat fruits and vegetables, but stay away from high glycemic foods. Don’t drink more than 6-7 alcoholic drinks per week if you’re a woman, and don’t use street drugs. Don’t abuse prescription drugs, either.

FYI-Avoiding hostility in your marriage, having good friends, and living a happy life are also important. Couples who have hostile arguments, even if their marriage is happy, suffer the same health risks as a smoker! This is new information, but it's well established in the existing research.

That’s all for now, folks. Now you know how to become a centenarian. A toast to your longevity: ”May you live as long as you like, and have what you like as long as you live.”

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