aging http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2683/all en-US Best Money Tips: How to Age Well on a Shoestring http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-age-well-on-a-shoestring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-age-well-on-a-shoestring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mature-man-workout-resistance-weights-Dollarphotoclub_45115826.jpg" alt="mature man working" title="mature man working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on how to age well on a shoestring, tools to help you reclaim your time, and a morning checklist for the best day ever.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3379/aging-well-for-less">10 Ways to Age Well on a Shoestring</a> &mdash; Working out your muscles with resistance exercises will give you better balance, stronger bones, weight control, and improved sleep. You can save on weightlifting equipment by using cans of food or milk jugs filled with sand. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/reclaim-time-stop-distractions/">Reclaim Your Time: 4 Online Tools to Stop Distractions</a> &mdash; RescueTime tracks your web activity so you know how much time you spend on certain websites. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Morning-Organizational-Checklist-36228252">Have the Best Day Ever With This 10-Step Morning Checklist</a> &mdash; Doing 10 minutes of cardio in the morning jump-starts your metabolism and gives you a quick energy boost. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://retirementrevised.com/the-10-most-important-things-to-know-about-medicare/">The 10 Most Important Things to Know About Medicare</a> &mdash; Make sure you know the difference between traditional, fee-for-service Medicare and a Medicare Advantage Plan. [Retirement Revised]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/home-organizing/10-affordable-ideas-give-desk-makeover-needs/53907">10 Affordable Ideas to Give Your Desk the Makeover It Needs</a> &mdash; Store your knick-knacks in a nice tray with slightly raised sides. It will help organize your desk and make it look less cluttered! [SheBudgets]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.retiredby40blog.com/2015/02/05/3-ways-to-lower-food-costs/">3 Ways to Stop Eating Out</a> &mdash; If you find that you keep doing unplanned food runs while you're out, get into the habit of eating a nutritious, filling snack before you leave the house.&nbsp;[Retired By 40]</p> <p><a href="http://jamesclear.com/candy-checkout">Why Stores Place Candy by the Checkout Counter (and Why We Fail With New Habits)</a> &mdash; By the time you reach the checkout line, you've made so many decisions about what to buy (and not buy) that it becomes easy to give in to an impulse purchase. [James Clear]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mydollarplan.com/best-places-to-sell-your-stuff-to-make-quick-cash">Best Places to Sell Your Stuff to Make Quick Cash</a> &mdash; Half.com is great for selling your used books and DVDs. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/sharing-random-acts-of-kindness-as-a-family">Sharing Random Acts of Kindness as a Family</a> &mdash; Get the whole family involved in spreading kindness. You can organize a toy drive, pass out cups of coffee to your neighbors as the leave for work, or invite friends over and cook dinner for them. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cleverdude.com/content/are-you-teaching-your-kids-the-right-life-skills/">Are You Teaching Your Kids The Right Life Skills?</a> &mdash; Before your kids reach adulthood, make sure they know how to cook and do laundry. [Clever Dude]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-age-well-on-a-shoestring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free">6 Ways Life is Wonderful When You&#039;re Debt-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage">5 Reasons to Keep Your Money Separated After Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30">Flashback Friday: The 76 Best Life Lessons You Should Learn by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle aging best money tips Wed, 11 Feb 2015 20:00:09 +0000 Amy Lu 1289194 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Let Poor Health Kill Your Retirement Fund http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-poor-health-kill-your-retirement-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-poor-health-kill-your-retirement-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement-health-177852330-small.jpg" alt="retirement health" title="retirement health" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Poor health can destroy your finances in retirement if you fail to build both a healthy retirement fund and a healthy retirement body.</p> <p>Research shows that physical and financial health are closely linked. In a 2002 University of Michigan study, <a href="http://hrsonline.isr.umich.edu/">married couples with excellent health averaged $500,000</a> in net worth, about three times that of married couples with poor health who had an average of $164,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-supercharge-your-retirement?ref=seealso">10 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Retirement</a>)</p> <p>When it comes to costs, many Americans may underestimate how much money they'll spend on health care in their golden years. Over half of the respondents to a Fidelity Investments Retirement Savings Assessment survey say they'll need about $50,000. But Fidelity predicts an average couple will <a href="http://www.fidelity.com/inside-fidelity/individual-investing/fidelity-study-shows-84-percent">need more than $220,000</a> over the course of their retirement &mdash; just for health care!</p> <p>Indeed, retirees now spend more on health care than they do on food, and at the present rate, health care will be retirees' largest expense after housing.</p> <p>So to help you prepare, start thinking hard about the following steps.</p> <h2>Building a Healthy Retirement Budget</h2> <p>Investment broker Fidelity recommends <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/health-care-costs-when-you-retire">taking these four steps</a> to prepare for health care costs in retirement.</p> <h3>1. Set a Savings Goal</h3> <p>Set an annual savings goal of 10% to 15% or more of your income, including 401(k) plans and IRAs. Consider saving part of any raises, bonuses, or tax refunds and increasing contributions to savings plans by 1% every year.</p> <h3>2. Go on Auto-Pilot</h3> <p>Sign up for automatic savings plans with your financial services company. Use the automatic increase feature in your 401(k) plan if it's offered.</p> <h3>3. Use Health Care Savings Accounts</h3> <p>HSAs, offered through employers, offer a triple tax advantage. Contributions and investment earnings accumulate tax-free and roll over year to year if not spent. Distributions for qualified medical expenses are not subject to federal taxes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-health-insurance-plan?ref=seealso">How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan</a>)</p> <h3>4. Understand Medicare Options</h3> <p>Most people qualify for Medicare hospital insurance, or Part A, at age 65 and don't pay for the coverage if they paid Medicare taxes while working, according to Fidelity.</p> <p>However, you pay monthly premiums for Medicare medical insurance, or Part B, which covers doctor visits and other medical services. Plus, there's no limit on out-of-pocket expenses.</p> <h3>4. Understand Unbundled Vs. Bundled Coverage</h3> <p>Unbundled coverage involves using Medicare Part A and Part B along with Veterans benefits, former employer retiree plans or purchasing supplemental, or Medigap, insurance from a private insurance company. That route may be best if you want to fill in gaps in coverage and keep the original Medicare coverage. You can use any doctor or facility you like but may pay higher premium. The policies don't include prescription coverage so you'll need to buy Medicare Part D to cover prescription drugs.</p> <p>Bundled coverage is Medicare Advantage or Managed Care plans, privately managed plans that combine Medicare Parts A and B, and supplemental coverage you purchase. They often include prescription coverage and can offer lower premiums or better benefits. Simpler than unbundled coverage, it requires just one ID card.</p> <p>The disadvantage is that it can limit you to only network providers.</p> <p>Medicare's website offers a <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx">useful tool</a> for comparing supplemental insurance in your state.</p> <h2>Building a Healthy Retirement Body</h2> <p>Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being informed during your working years is key to your financial fitness in retirement. Here's ten actions to take now to improve your health in the future (some pulled from health care insurer Aetna's excellent website, <a href="http://www.planforyourhealth.com">Plan For Your Health</a>):</p> <h3>1. Know Your Cholesterol</h3> <p>Cholesterol has a big impact on heart health. Healthy cholesterol levels are 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol-levels/art-20048245">lower for total cholesterol</a>, 100 mg/dL or lower for LDL cholesterol, and 60 mg/dL or higher for HDL (or &quot;good&quot;) cholesterol, and 150 mg/dL or lower for triglycerides (fat).</p> <h3>2. Don't Smoke</h3> <p>Smoking raises blood pressure, increases fatty plaque in arteries, and increases chances for heart attacks.</p> <h3>3. Check Your Blood Sugar</h3> <p>Have your blood sugar level tested once a year. High blood sugar levels indicate higher chances of diabetes, which in turn means higher odds for other health problems.</p> <h3>4. Eat Right</h3> <p>Eat high-fiber foods, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Apples can decrease the risk of cancer, according to <a href="http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2014/cancer-fighting-foods-drinks.html">AARP</a>. A handful of nuts a day may help prevent both heart disease and cancer. Beans and lentils are good for your colon, garlic fights off digestive-tract cancers, and curry has ingredients that may offer protection against brain tumors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-at-the-intersection-of-cheap-and-healthy?ref=seealso">Eating at the Intersection of Cheap and Healthy</a>)</p> <h3>5. Exercise Daily</h3> <p>Daily exercise reduces the ill-effects of aging, such as worsening eyesight and less bone density. Even 10 minutes of exercise a day helps, writes James Rouse, a naturopathic physician and host of &quot;<a href="http://optimumwellness.com/">Optimum Wellness</a>.&quot; The many simple exercise options, he says, include going for walking, dancing, bicycling, playing water volleyball, or jumping on a trampoline.</p> <h3>6. Be Friendly</h3> <p>Stress builds up if you keep your feelings bottled inside. Talk to your friends and family and ask for support. If you don't have a good support system, work to develop one to have someone to talk to when you're upset.</p> <h3>7. Relieve Pressure</h3> <p>To prevent or manage high blood pressure, use less salt, limit alcohol and caffeine, quit smoking, mind your cholesterol, and exercise daily. Besides making you unhappy, too much stress can increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. Try meditation, deep breathing, muscle relaxation, listening to relaxing music, or picturing pleasant scenes.</p> <h3>8. Take Health Tests</h3> <p>Women should have a Pap smear annually until age 65, a mammogram annually starting at age 50, a bone density test to guard against bone thinning, <a href="http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-04-2013/basic-health-guide-men-women-dr-oz.html?cmp=RDRCT-HLTHGD_MAR12_013">advises Dr. Mehmet Oz</a>, host of &quot;The Dr. Oz Show.&quot;</p> <p>Men should have a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test at age 50 for a baseline reading, followed by yearly testing. Both men and women should have a colonoscopy at age 50, then once every 10 years.</p> <h3>9. Watch Your Weight</h3> <p>Over 60% of American adults are overweight and a third are obese. An average woman of 5 feet 4 inches is obese at 175 pounds. An average man of 5 feet 9 inches is obese at 196 pounds, says Dr. Oz. Measure your waist above your hip bone and below your rib cage. It should be less than half your height.</p> <h3>10. Beware the Sun</h3> <p>Use sunscreen and reapply it every two hours when you're in the sun, Dr. Oz advises. Men should remember their ears and scalp where they're more prone to skin cancer than women. Wear sunglasses in bright sun to help ward of failing eyesight in latter years.</p> <p><em>How are you planning for health care costs in retirement? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-poor-health-kill-your-retirement-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-119-best-fitness-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: The 119 Best Fitness Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-burn-almost-1000-extra-calories-per-day">10 Easy Ways to Burn Almost 1000 Extra Calories Per Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-99-best-fitness-hacks-of-all-time">Flashback Friday: The 99 Best Fitness Hacks of All Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-killer-ways-to-really-actually-lose-weight">7 Killer Ways to Really, Actually Lose Weight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Retirement aging fitness Health investing retirement retirement fund Fri, 04 Jul 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Michael Kling 1153231 at http://www.wisebread.com A 94-Year-Old's Take on Making Good Decisions http://www.wisebread.com/a-94-year-olds-take-on-making-good-decisions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-94-year-olds-take-on-making-good-decisions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sunflowers_and_woman.jpg" alt="Woman in front of sunflowers" title="Woman in front of sunflowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ll admit it: I&rsquo;ve spent too much money, I&rsquo;ve said things I regret, and I&rsquo;ve made bad choices. To be fair, I&rsquo;m sure everyone&rsquo;s guilty of some bad choices, but it made me wonder &mdash; who am<em> I </em>to be giving advice on how to make good ones? So I decided to go out and get some advice from someone with a lot more life experience &mdash; my grandmother, who at 94 is as independent, effervescent, and opinionated as ever. I knew she&rsquo;d have some ideas for me, but boy was I surprised by her perspective. Here are some of her thoughts on making decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-lessons-from-great-grandmother">7 Frugal Lessons From&nbsp;Great-Grandmother</a>)</p> <h2>Be Grateful That You Have Choice</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s natural to dread having to make a tough choice &mdash; I know I often do. But what if you thought of that choice as a privilege? My grandmother grew up at a time in which women just weren&rsquo;t given much say; she was raised to listen to her parents and then later, all the big decisions went to her husband. Now that she&rsquo;s all on her own, she relishes doing what she wants, even at the cost of sometimes making choices she regrets. So next time you&rsquo;re struggling with a decision, remember that you&rsquo;re actually indulging in a luxury that has not always been available to everyone &mdash; and that in some parts of the world still isn&rsquo;t.</p> <h2>Do the Best You Can</h2> <p>How can you ever know if you&rsquo;re making the right decision in a given situation? The answer is, you don&rsquo;t. My grandmothers says all you can do is your best, because what often determines the turnout is unknown. She also told me she thinks life is a gift. I take that to mean you have to learn to love it, even when it doesn&rsquo;t always turn out the way you had hoped.</p> <h2>Do What You Want</h2> <p>As an active and able 94-year-old, my grandmother relishes being able to do whatever she wants. Maybe some of that&rsquo;s a luxury of old age, but she&rsquo;s also learned that you just can&rsquo;t make everyone happy, so it&rsquo;s best not to try. Going with the flow can often be a way of taking the easy way out. Make the decisions that are right for you.</p> <h2>Try to Be Deliberate</h2> <p>When it comes to shopping, my grandmother admits that she sometimes has a hard time <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/impulse-shopping-a-controllable-handicap">saying &ldquo;no&rdquo; to something she wants</a>. As someone who grew up and lived most of her life with very little more than the basics, I think she&rsquo;s probably the only one who sees her purchases as indulgences. Still, she says it&rsquo;s important to learn to think hard about what you want. Not so much so that you can make the right choice, but so that you can make ones that you won&rsquo;t regret.</p> <h2>Take Advice From Other People</h2> <p>My grandmother has more friends and family than anyone I know, and she often turns to other people for their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-good-advice">opinions and advice</a>. She&rsquo;s not afraid to say she doesn&rsquo;t have the answers, or to seek out someone who can help, whether it&rsquo;s with filing her taxes or fixing her dryer. If you&rsquo;re struggling to make a decision, remember that you don&rsquo;t have to go it alone. Reach out to those around you for both help and support.</p> <p>I can&rsquo;t say I&rsquo;m a pro at decision-making, but my grandmother was quick to say that despite having more experience, she doesn&rsquo;t have the answers. But through all the decisions she has made &mdash; both good and bad &mdash; my grandmother is still as hopeful and spirited as ever. And that&rsquo;s a choice too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-94-year-olds-take-on-making-good-decisions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-improving-your-critical-thinking">7 Steps to Improving Your Critical Thinking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development aging decision making grandparents Thu, 29 Dec 2011 11:36:18 +0000 Tara Struyk 839374 at http://www.wisebread.com Power9: 9 Habits of the World's Healthiest People http://www.wisebread.com/power9-9-habits-of-the-worlds-healthiest-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/power9-9-habits-of-the-worlds-healthiest-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007294837XSmall.jpg" alt="Happy senior couple" title="Happy senior couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States is facing a health crisis of unprecedented proportions: Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Diabetes and heart disease rates are on the rise. For the first time in living history, the life expectancy of America&rsquo;s children is less than that of their parents.</p> <p>In other parts of the world, however, people are living longer, healthier lives. In certain areas known as Blue Zones, people tend to live well into their 90s and beyond while remaining mentally and physically vibrant. It&rsquo;s no coincidence that people in these regions share several lifestyle traits.</p> <h2>The Blue Zones</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Sardinia, Italy</strong>: a mountain village where researchers encountered a 102-year-old man who hikes at least 6 miles a day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Okinawa, Japan</strong>: home to some of the world&rsquo;s longest-lived people.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Loma Linda, California</strong>: where a group of Seventh Day Adventists commonly live to 100 years old and enjoy more healthy years of life than the rest of the United States.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Icaria, Greece</strong>: a tiny island with 20 percent lower rates of cancer, 50 percent lower rates of heart disease, and almost no dementia.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica</strong>: where residents enjoy lower levels of obesity and longer lives than the rest of Costa Rica.</li> </ol> <p>Dan Buettner, explorer and writer for <em>National Geographic</em>, has worked with longevity researchers to identify the habits that allow Blue Zone inhabitants to reach the age of 100 at ten times greater rates than most of the United States, while suffering a mere fraction the rate of heart disease and cancer as the rest of the world.</p> <p>The key to living longer, fuller lives, says Buettner, is to create an environment of health. Science has determined that less than 25% of a person&rsquo;s lifespan is determined by genes. The rest can be influenced by lifestyle factors.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Healthy Lifestyle Habits</h2> <p>Buettner and his team of researchers have identified nine lifestyle factors common among Blue Zone inhabitants, all of which are associated with an extra 3-6 years of quality life. The secret to vitality and longevity is incorporating these habits into your daily life. Adopting all nine of these habits &mdash; known as the Power9 &mdash; is not necessary to experience the benefits of increased health and longevity; according to Buettner, practicing just six of the Power9 will deliver 90% of the benefits. His book, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Zones-Lessons-Living-Longest/dp/1426204000/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1272063236&amp;sr=8-1">The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who&rsquo;ve Lived the Longest</a></em>, provides practical guidelines for setting up your home, your social life, and your work place to help add more quality years to your life.</p> <p>Surprisingly, only one of the Power9 deals with exercise, and a full third involve social factors. In fact, says Buettner, the single most important thing you can do is extend your life is to build your own &ldquo;Right Tribe.&rdquo; The world&rsquo;s longest-lived people were either born into or choose to associate with the right people &mdash; those who provide emotional support and the motivation to engage in healthy activities. Research shows that if you surround yourself with people who are active and eat healthy foods, you are more likely to adopt these habits yourself.</p> <h2>The Power9</h2> <h3>1. Move naturally</h3> <p>Find ways to move mindlessly and adopt a lifestyle that makes moving unavoidable. In many Blue Zones, walking is the main mode of transportation. People also engage in some sort of moderate daily activity such as gardening, walking, or playing with their children. Buettner believes that many Americans exercise too hard; our bodies were not made to withstand years of heavy pounding and high-intensity physical activity. Regular, low-intensity activity &mdash; doing something light every day &mdash; may be more beneficial. Focus on activities you enjoy &mdash; even something as seemingly simple as a daily walk can provide health benefits.</p> <h3>2. Know your purpose in life</h3> <p>Having a meaningful reason to get out of bed in the morning can help reduce stress and ward off disease. Studies show that people who retire early often see a decline in their health and even experience higher mortality rates than those who continue to work. If you enjoy your job, keep working as long as possible. Volunteer work and community service can also help provide a sense of purpose.</p> <h3>3. Downshift</h3> <p>People in Blue Zones typically have less stress in their lives. Look for ways to simplify your life: slow down, get plenty of rest, and take vacations. Try to punctuate your day with periods of calm, whether that means meditating, taking a relaxing bath, or carving out some time for yourself to engage in a hobby.</p> <h3>4. Follow the 80% Rule</h3> <p>As Americans, we&rsquo;re used to eating until we&rsquo;re full, but allowing yourself to feel hunger can actually be beneficial. A study involving mice revealed that the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin may help fight stress and depression. People in Blue Zones typically stop eating when they are 80% full. Buettner&rsquo;s book and the <a href="http://www.bluezones.com/">Blue Zone</a> web site provide advice on adopting healthier eating habits.</p> <h3>5. Eat a plant-based diet</h3> <p>People in Blue Zones don&rsquo;t diet; they eat wisely. Blue Zone diets consist of large amounts of locally grown vegetables and less protein than the average American diet. Limit processed foods, meats, fats, and sweets as much as possible. Also drink plenty of fresh water and herbal teas. In Icaria, residents drink high levels of herbal teas that act as diuretics, lower blood pressure, and prevent heart disease.</p> <h3>6. Drink red wine</h3> <p>Red wine is high in powerful antioxidants that can help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol. In Sardinia, researchers found a red wine with the world&rsquo;s highest-known levels of antioxidants. Drink red wine consistently and in moderation &mdash; a glass or two a day is recommended.</p> <h3>7. Belong to a healthy social network</h3> <p>Having a strong and supportive social system is key to reducing stress and living a healthy life. There is a biological link between social connection and how well our bodies function. Fifteen years ago, the average American had three good friends; that number is now down to two. Our increasingly wired society and busy lifestyles have made us more isolated, which can shave years off our lives. Make an effort to spend time with friends and nurture a face-to-face network instead of just connecting with people online. Proactively build friendships with people who practice healthy habits. Participating in social exercise groups or volunteering are great ways to meet healthy, like-minded individuals.</p> <h3>8. Have a belief system</h3> <p>Having some sort of faith system or spiritual practice has been shown to have health benefits. Participating in a belief system doesn&rsquo;t have to mean organized religion: Okinawans believe in ancestral worship; yoga and meditation are also forms of non-religious spiritual practices. &ldquo;People who feel their life is part of a larger plan and are guided by their spiritual values have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart attack and cancer, and heal faster and live longer,&rdquo; says Harold G. Koenig, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center.</p> <h3>9. Put your family first</h3> <p>People in Blue Zones make family a priority and nurture supportive relationships with their loved ones. Studies have shown that the average working American parent spends just 19 minutes a day engaged in childcare. As you work on simplifying your routine, look for new, beneficial activities you can do with your children and extended family members. Complete a craft project together, get the family together for a bike ride, or involve the children in making dinner and choosing healthy foods for the family.</p> <p>For more information, visit the <a href="http://www.bluezones.com/">Blue Zones</a> web site, which features a Vitality Compass for gauging your current state of health and life expectancy.</p> <h3>Additional Resources</h3> <p><a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103744881 "> The Island Where People Live Longer</a><br /> <a href="http://www.aarpmagazine.org/health/find_purpose_live_longer.html"> Find Purpose, Live Longer</a></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a post by Karen Eisenbraun from our sister blog, <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com">Healthy Theory</a>. Visit Healthy Theory for more health tips and news.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/fast-food-companies-funded-by-health-insurance-investments">Fast Food Companies Funded by Health Insurance Investments</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/should-you-stop-eating-canned-foods">Should You Stop Eating Canned Foods?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/fatty-foods-can-be-addictive-like-cocaine">Fatty Foods Can Be Addictive Like Cocaine</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/are-we-too-clean">Are We Too Clean? </a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-theory">Healthy Theory</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/power9-9-habits-of-the-worlds-healthiest-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-hair-for-cash">How to Sell Your Hair for Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-simple-sunburn-remedies-that-really-work">Cheap and Simple Sunburn Remedies That Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty aging blue zones healthy longevity power9 Mon, 26 Apr 2010 12:00:02 +0000 Healthy Theory 43403 at http://www.wisebread.com