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How to Live a Longer Life

Paul is a septuagenarian who has previously lived in the United States and Taiwan. He is married and currently living in Thailand.

An Elderly Couple

An Elderly Couple

How to Live a Longer Life

With the onset of the covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, most people are concerned about safeguarding their health and not contracting the covid-19 virus. A big reason for this is doctors reporting that you will live a longer life by not catching the covid-19 virus.

There are many other ways, however, to live a longer life. This involves taking care of your physical and mental health at an early age.

In this article, I suggest habits to avoid and good health practices to follow which will lead to living a longer life.

Don't Get Hooked on Unhealthy Habits When Young

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A lot of young people feel that they are immortal and will never get old and die. How else can you explain some of their unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking?

While in my early 20s, I started drinking and smoking when in college and then in the Navy. They were enjoyable habits and, at times, I would binge drink and chain-smoke. Little could I realize how these bad habits would affect my health when older.

In my mid-40s, I was diagnosed with hypertension. This was undoubtedly brought on by my drinking and smoking habits. After 28 years of moderate to heavy smoking, I finally quit in 1995. I continued drinking more moderately until the age of 70 when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Fortunately, up to this point in my life, drinking and smoking haven't hurt me as much as it has taken the lives of some of my friends and classmates. An old friend and colleague who was an alcoholic and smoker died of esophagus cancer when he was only 56. Also, a high school classmate who was a heavy smoker passed away from lung cancer at only 50.

My hypertension and kidney cancer could probably have been avoided by not smoking and drinking. I am certain that my old friend and classmate would still be alive today if they had not drunk and smoked.

Many older people suffer from diabetes. This is caused by being overweight and inactive when young which is common now in many countries. Hypertension is also a cause.

Besides paying attention to their physical health, young people need to avoid habits that are harmful to their mental health. Too many youths are attracted to negative role models who get them hooked on opioid drugs. These drugs are both physically and mentally harmful. Kids lose self-esteem and more and more are turning to suicide.


Follow Good Health Practices

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Good Health Practices When Growing Up

Your body is a machine and like all machines, it must be maintained to last a long time. Many people ignore this fact and neglect practicing good health habits when young.

From an early age, all children should get enough sleep, have a good diet, practice personal hygiene such as brushing teeth in the morning and after meals, and be active. Kids need 9-10 hours of sleep at night and to eat three well-balanced nutritious meals daily. It would be wise to avoid a lot of junk food like chips and soda. Instead of spending time indoors playing video games, young people should be actively engaged in sports.

From a very early age, parents must ensure that their children are immunized against childhood diseases such as measles, chickenpox, and smallpox.

As children grow older, they need dental checkups, vision checks, and physical exams before participating in sports.

Good Health Practices as Young Adults

As a young adult, it is necessary to practice the same healthy habits as when growing up. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a good diet, and exercising.

It is also important to have periodic physical and dental exams. A physical exam will indicate whether you have any problems with your heart or lungs. A blood test will also detect any problems such as diabetes. If you have been smoking from an early age, a chest X-ray would be a good idea.

For good mental health, a person should have interests and friends. Having a good sex life is also important.

I would advise not to smoke or do drugs. These habits can only harm your health.

If you must drink, I would only do it socially and lightly.

Good Health Practices in Middle Age

As one enters middle age which I define as being between the ages of 45 and 65, it is very important to continue seeing the doctor. Although you might not feel sick, it is important to check for medical problems that start to appear in middle age.

For men, it is necessary to have PSA testing to detect early prostate cancer. Women need to have mammograms and pap smears to check for breast and cervical cancer.

Both men and women should also have a chest X-ray, colonoscopy, and full abdomen ultrasound. These tests can detect masses that might be cancerous. At the age of 70, a full abdomen ultrasound detected a mass on my left kidney which turned out to be malignant.

Periodic blood tests are also necessary to monitor liver and kidney functions as well as glucose to see if diabetes has set in.

Just as when younger, you must get enough sleep, eat a good diet, and exercise. Taking extra vitamins would be a good idea for those not eating a good diet.

Good Health Practices in Old Age

Citing myself as an example, I would suggest the following health practices for anyone over the age of 65.

1. Get enough sleep at night.

I would suggest at least nine hours of sleep every night. At 8:30 p.m., I am tired and ready to sleep because I don't nap during the day. Between 5:30 and 6:00 the next morning, I usually get up.

2. Eat regularly and pay attention to your diet.

Every day, I have three light to moderate meals. For breakfast, I always have oatmeal and milk accompanied by a bowl of the fruit of pineapple, grapes, and bananas. Since I have hypertension and must watch my cholesterol and triglycerides, I must have a low salt diet and not eat very much fat and carbohydrates. I eat a lot of fish and also pork and chicken. One half of each meal also consists of fruit and vegetables. As an aid to controlling my triglycerides and cholesterol, I take Omega-3 fish oil twice a day.

3. Get enough exercise

To maintain muscle and cardiovascular health, it is necessary to exercise every day. Brisk walking or riding a bicycle is good for your heart. By visiting a Fitness Center, you can find machines to exercise the different muscles in your body.

4. Get Annual Health Check-ups

Seniors need to see their physicians for annual health check-ups. These check-ups should include blood tests monitoring glucose, liver, and kidney functions. Lipids in the blood should also be measured. Men should continue to have PSA screenings and women need mammograms and pap smears. Chest X-rays and full abdomen ultrasounds should also be part of the annual check-up. Since I have hypertension and BPH, I always see a cardiologist and urologist annually.

5. Pay Attention to Mental Health

Mental health is just as important as physical health when you are a senior. Having a positive outlook on life is a good way to guard against depression. Seniors should have interests and be socially active. One way to do this is by volunteering.

Summary

Although not mentioned in this article, the living environment plays a big part in adding years to your life. You want to reduce your exposure to air and water pollution and crime.

Staying away from unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking will help you live longer. Maintaining health with regular medical checkups throughout life will also be beneficial in helping you live a longer life.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Paul Richard Kuehn

Comments

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on August 18, 2020:

It's great to hear from you again, Emmanuel. Protect yourself when you go to the hospital, and by all means, get a check-up. My doctor said that I can take 2000 mg of omega 3 per day. I take one capsule of 1000 mg in the morning and one in the evening.

Emmanuel Kariuki from Nairobi, Kenya on August 18, 2020:

Hello Paul. It's been a while. I skipped right to the seniors as I have now joined the club. Here in Kenya the Government is complaining that since Covid-19 struck, citizens are not going to hospital for fear of contracting the disease. I am guilty as charged. I need a check up to follow your advice but I have cold feet.

About the omega 3 oils - I have a supplement that recommends only one capsule per day. Don't you think you are overdosing by taking it twice a day?

Thanks for this hub. It is a good reminder that to live longer, one must put in some work as well.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 28, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comments, Lisha. I hope you have a healthy lifestyle.

Lisha C on May 28, 2020:

It's true that we usually don't take these things seriously at a younger age. Thank you for reminding us about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 27, 2020:

I appreciate your comments, Devika. I would be very happy if people could learn from my experiences.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 27, 2020:

Thank you so much for your supportive comments. If we make healthier choices when young, we should be in healthier shape when older.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 27, 2020:

Unhealthy habits will certainly shorten your life. If you take care of your body, you should be able to live longer than your grandparents.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 27, 2020:

I am very pleased you found this article enlightening. If you don't pay attention to a healthy diet and living plan when young, you will reap what you sow when older.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 27, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. I am very happy you like this article.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 27, 2020:

Sounds perfect for a healthy life and you shared your experiences as well.Sometimes everything we read tells us to be careful and of what we don't know we need to learn from people like you have had such experiences. This is important information and well explained from your side of it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2020:

All of your tips for a healthy life are excellent. I know when we are young we don't always make good choices as you pointed out, but it surely pays off to make the healthier choices. This is a very good article.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 27, 2020:

Do not smoke,

Do not drink alcohol

Do not eat fast food

Maybe we would live longer than our gradparents

Lorna Lamon on May 27, 2020:

This is an excellent article and it's so true, as what we reap now we will sow later comes to mind. A healthy diet and living plan from an early age will benefit us all greatly. Thank you for sharing this enlightening read Paul.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 27, 2020:

This article gives great advice for healthy living.