Look back at some of the easiest ways we learned to support your body to live a long, healthy life in 2019.
1. Eat Like an Okinawan
The Okinawa diet is based on the traditions of the inhabitants of the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. Average lifespans vary wildly across different countries and the island is no exception. In Japan, the average lifespan is 84 years old – and five times as many Okinawans are expected to live to 100 years old than their counterparts in other areas of the country.
Many think their secret to a long life may lie in their diet, which includes a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Meat, seafood, grains and dairy are typically limited if they are consumed at all.
2. Spend More Time Outside
According to a 2019 study led by researchers from the University of Exeter, people who spend at least 120 minutes (or two hours) in nature per week are significantly more likely to report good health mental wellbeing than those who don’t spend any time in nature at all during an average week.
Around the world, there’s a growing movement to support this idea that regular exposure to nature improves both physical and mental health. In Japan, for example, “forest bathing,” is the common practice of taking long walks in the woods and has been the focus of dozens of studies to investigate its beneficial effects. More good news: according to the study, any type of outdoor setting will suffice. The benefits of aren’t limited to spending time in a forest.
3. Look on the Bright Side
Past research has shown that being an optimist may support a longer life span. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to leading a happier and healthier-feeling lifestyle, there are a few simple changes you can make in your everyday life that can help you feel happier and healthier.
4. Get Some Sleep … But Not Too Much
The body’s natural sleep-wake cycle stems from the circadian rhythm, which in today’s busy world, can be thrown off its axis. Lack of sleep, or too much of it for that matter, has many potential side effects ranging from irritability to a negative effect on your overall wellbeing, so it’s important to aim for between 6 and 8 hours each night.
5. Take at Least 4,400 Steps a Day
In 2019, the old wives’ tale that claimed we all needed to be walking 10,000 steps a day was debunked. According to research, those who took at least 4,400 steps a day had a 41% lower mortality rate than those who only walked 2,700 steps. Additionally, the benefits of walking plateaued after 7,500 steps!
What wellness lessons from 2019 are you planning to practice in 2020?