We are all looking for it – the key to youth and eternal health.  Does it exist??  Well, there’s no such thing as a fountain of youth per se, but a recent study teaches us that there are some things that we CAN do to age successfully.

The study looked at over 5,000 people in the United Kingdom, to try to figure out what sorts of behaviors were associated with successful aging, which they defined as good mental, physical, cardiovascular, and respiratory functioning, absence of disability, and absence of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

They found that people who engaged in all of the following four healthy behaviours had a 3.3 times greater chance of successful aging:

  • never smoking; AND
  • eating fruits and veggies daily; AND
  • physical activity (≥ 2.5 hours per week of moderate activity or ≥ 1 hour per week of vigorous activity); AND
  • moderate alcohol consumption
The last of these 4 is a bit of a touchy one – while the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol daily (in particular red wine, eg 1 glass per day) are known, we as doctors do not make a point of recommending alcohol, as this can be a slippery slope for some people, and of course there are negative consequences to health of too much alcohol consumption.   However, if a person is consuming a glass of red wine per day safely, it would not usually be recommended to stop doing so.Hmm… I think I’ll throw my sneakers on this evening and walk out in search of a healthy salad to enjoy on the patio!

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013

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