10 simple steps to a longer life

It is not as hard as you think to establish a healthier routine with these simple health hacks.

It’s pretty easy to slip into bad habits. Our lives are busy so we grab that packet of chips for a snack, skip the exercise and cancel the doctor’s appointment.

But by taking a moment to review the way you live, you can start living healthier today.

Here are 10 easy lifestyle changes to get you started.

Eat 40 per cent less

Sounds like a lot but if you think about all your meals, snacks and sugary drinks, lopping off 40 percent of kilojoules shouldn’t be too tricky.

And here’s some incentive – scientists at University College London have claimed it could extend your life by 20 years.

Apply the 60:5 rule

Indiana University research has come up with this simple formula – for every hour you sit, stand up and walk for five minutes.

The result? Longer life.

Establish a sleep schedule

And stick to it. Having consistent sleep and waking times leads to feeling healthier and more refreshed.

Research shows sleeping well is linked with maintaining healthy weight and good eating practices. Experts recommend you have a week night and weekend schedule, and try not to deviate.

Eat nine of these a day

Just 10g of nuts – that’s nine almonds, 12 peanuts or six cashews – has been scientifically shown to have masses of health benefits.

A Netherlands Cohort study followed 120,000 adults and found a handful of nuts daily cut the risk of death from cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Have a healthy kitchen bench top

Here’s some interesting research out of Cornell University in the US: Women who had healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables visible in their kitchens weighed an average of 9kg less than those who had snacks such as cereals and soft drinks in their eyeline.

Try regular meditation

There are now so many ways you can incorporate versions of meditation into daily life. And it doesn’t even require setting aside an hour a day in a silent corner of your garden.

Scientists have found physical and mental health benefits from as little as 3-5 minutes of mantra chanting. There are lots of styles described online, so do a search and find one to suit.

Have a sensible relationship with the sun

Yes, we have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, but our body needs little spurts of vitamin D that we get from the sun to keep our bones strong and, research suggests, even reduce weight gain.

Just be clever – if the UV Index is three or more (which is often in Australia), all you need is a few minutes of sunlight on bare skin most days of the week. Then it’s slip, slop, slap.

Know the sugar maths

There are lots of formulas around about sugar, but try this one.

If you’re a regular soft drink or juice consumer, cutting these out could strip about 10 teaspoons of sugar a day, or about 670kJ. Over a week this could lead to weight loss of up to 500g.

Do this exercise for healthy older age

Forget jogging – resistance exercise is arguably better when it comes to having a good middle and older age, research says. This kind of exercise involves lifting weights, using resistance bands or doing exercises that use your body weight to provide resistance.

And the best part? You only need to do about 15 minutes a day to see health benefits.

A laugh a day keeps the doctor at bay

Yep, like the adage says, laughter is the best medicine – scientists have proven it to be the case.

California’s Lorna Linda University found that people who watched 20 minutes of funny videos had better memory recall and lower stress levels than the study participants who sat in silent contemplation.