According to recent research, following a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a low body weight, avoiding smoking and limiting your alcohol consumption can help to reduce your odds of dementia. Researchers from Cardiff University in the U.K. studied 2,235 men and found that those who adopted all five, or even four, of these healthy behaviors experienced a 60% reduction in dementia and overall cognitive decline. Also found were 70% fewer cases of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke in those men compared to people who didn’t practice any of the behaviors. Lead study author Professor Peter Elwood said in a press release, “What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health — healthy behaviors have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.” Here are some tips to help you to incorporate all five of these health habits into your lifestyle:
• Acknowledge your cravings: Your secret weapon to combat junk food is to, actually, face the fact that you want it. A study found that dieters who admitted that they had cravings, versus those who tried to ignore them, consciously chose to not act on them. The idea it that by accepting cravings as a daily part of life will better equip you to deal with them.
• Work out in pairs: According to recent research conducted at Kansas State University, people who exercise with a friend burn more calories. Grab a friend and take a walk, join a spinning or Zumba class, or just hit up the gym together.
• Plan your quit-smoking date: If you are a smoker and are trying to quit, don’t attempt to do it during the holiday season. The parties, alcohol and tons of food can offset your health goals in general, so it is better to select a specific date after the holidays, according to the American Lung Association.
• If you drink alcohol, stick to lower-calories cocktails: The holiday cocktails and after work happy hours can be very tempting, but drinking too much can lead to your fitness goals falling by the wayside. Stay clear of creamy and sugary drinks and stick to lower-calorie drinks instead.
• Get more sleep: Adopting any of the above habits can help you to get your weight down and keep your healthy. To help keep weight low, don’t skimp on your sleep. Sleep-deprived people have higher levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and lower levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.