Tempted to surrender to middle-aged spread? Switching exercise for wine and chocolate impacts a lot more than just your waistline. New research shows that the key to living longer could be age related.
According to new research, maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle – and, in particular, staying trim – between the ages of 45 and 55 could be the key to a longer, healthier life.
3 Factors that reduce the risk of heart failure by 86%
Researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University tracked 40,000 people over a number of years and discovered that maintaining the factors below between the ages of 45 and 55, reduces the risk of heart failure by 86%
- A healthy weight
- Normal blood pressure
- Remaining free of diabetes
Women who met all three criteria at both time points lived, on average, 14.9 more years without being diagnosed with heart failure.
According to the South African Heart Foundation, up to 80% of deaths in people younger than 60 years are preventable through a healthy lifestyle. And that most heart diseases and strokes are seen in people in their most productive years.
An unhealthy BMI is thought to be the root cause of many lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, so staying trim really is key.
But the effects of regular exercise could reach further. A separate study by researchers at the University of Melbourne tracked the cognitive performance of 387 women aged 45-55 for 20 years, discovering that regular exercise, normal blood pressure and high good cholesterol levels appeared to help guard against age-related memory loss.
Missed the boat? Exercise can help
Regular exercise was the most important factor, with effects appearing to be cumulative:
“We expected it was the healthy habits later in life that would make a difference but we were surprised to find that the effect of exercise was cumulative. Every one of those years mattered,” Associate Professor Szoeke, the study’s lead author, explained.
So what can you do to make this your healthiest decade yet? Follow these tips to slim down, slash blood pressure and cut your risk of diabetes.
1. Exercise regularly
Everything from walking the dog to mountain climbing counts. As well as possibly safeguarding against memory loss and helping you stay in shape, regular exercise decreases blood pressure and cuts your risk of diabetes by almost two-thirds.
2. Eat well
Watch portion size, increase your intake of vegetables and wholegrains and cut back on trans fat, sugar, salt and meat (especially processed varieties). Vegetarians are a third less likely to suffer from stroke, diabetes or heart disease.
Include foods which raise levels of good HDL cholesterol, such as olive oil, beans and pulses, oily fish, nuts, soy and avocado.
3. Drink moderately
Drinking up to 1 glass of wine a day can boost good cholesterol and decrease blood pressure, but larger quantities may be harmful. Dry wines – red or white – are lower in calories than sweet wines.
Adele slimmed down by drinking red wine and eating chocolate. Get her eating plan here.
4. Reduce your stress levels
Chronic stress raises blood pressure which, in turn, can increase your risk of diabetes. Follow our guide on how to de-stress and regain calm.
5. Slim down
Maintaining a healthy BMI is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health.
Exercise regularly, eat well and drink moderately and the kilos may well begin to fall off by themselves but, if you could still do with a little help, read our Body Reboot to find a healthy eating and exercise plan that will work for you.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.