Friday, January 09, 2009

Leading Gerontologist Shares Secrets To Longevity And Good Heart Health

(NAPSI)-With resolutions set and Heart Health Month approaching in February, Americans continue to seek greater health, well-being and the secrets to aging gracefully.

"The average person is built genetically to live to 90, but the lifestyle choices that we make are key factors that help propel us to that age," says Dr. Thomas Perls, one of the nation's leading gerontologists and author of "Living to 100." He adds, "People have this idea that the older you get, the sicker you get, when in fact our studies show that many are living healthily well into their 90s. So it becomes more the case that the older you get, the healthier you've been."

Dr. Perls shares unexpected tips that can add quality years to your life.

Absolutely Positive: One of the key factors to aging well is to be optimistic. Having a positive outlook on life and not allowing stress to get to you can increase your life expectancy and enhance your quality of life. Although our personalities are often innate and are stable throughout life, it is possible to alter reactions and keep unnecessary overreacting at bay. Focus on mind over matter, and try lightening your emotional load with humor. Laughing helps people relax and stay alert, so get together with friends for a game of charades or pop in your favorite sitcom.

Floss for Life: Flossing daily is one of the easiest ways to maintain the health of your smile and body. Perls' review of the medical literature revealed that flossing daily can add 1.5 years to your life expectancy. Not flossing regularly can cause inflamed gums. The inflammatory substances and bacteria that subsequently collect in your gums can surprisingly go on to greatly increase your risk for heart disease, as well as other serious health conditions such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Choose a floss that is comfortable to use, so you'll be encouraged to floss more often. Glide Comfort Plus gently wraps around the fingers and teeth, making for a more enjoyable flossing experience.

Antioxidants 101: Antioxidant nutrients such as selenium produce powerful enzymes that act in neutralizing damaging particles in the body. Intake of these antioxidants improves your chances at healthy aging. Load up on tomatoes, flaxseed, and dark greens such as broccoli, kale and spinach, all known for containing substances that likely decrease risk for age-related maladies.

Make it a Monday: Designate a specific day of the week to start healthy habits, whether it be flossing daily or solving a Sudoku puzzle. Research indicates that lack of structural support for a healthy lifestyle is among the primary reasons that people are unable to initiate and sustain healthful practices. Start on a Monday; it's the day to set goals, to refocus, to recommit. People organize their lives around the week, which initiates with a Monday, so why not start this Monday?

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