Regular checkups, exercise, no smoking, better diet and balance between work and play can add years, health expert says

February 24, 2017

FRIDAY, Feb. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Want to live a longer, healthier life?

Try five simple lifestyle recommendations, a public health expert says.

"Stay up to date on immunizations, screening exams for specific types of cancer [e.g., colorectal cancer screening for men and women, and breast and cervical cancer screening for women], and screening blood tests for conditions such as diabetes and HIV," said Dr. Paul Erwin, head of the department of public health at the University of Tennessee.

Regular exercise is also important, he added.

"Current recommendations call for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise [or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity]," Erwin said.

"If you are not into running, swimming or yoga, try mowing the lawn with a push mower rather than a riding lawn mower," he added. "Park at the far end of the parking lot rather than the spot closest to the door. Take the stairs up to the second floor rather than riding the elevator," Erwin said in a university news release.

Don't use tobacco, which is the most important preventable cause of early disease and death. If you currently use tobacco, try to quit, he stressed.

Good nutrition also plays a major role in a long and healthy life: "What we eat is much more important than how much we eat. Be mindful about what you eat," Erwin said.

"Pursue balance," he advised. "Practice and pursue harmony and balance in life -- between work and play, between rest [sleep is important!] and activity, and across the spectrum of mind, body and spirit."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on healthy living.

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