While we all know that exercise and a healthy diet can help us to feel good, sleep better and look better in the short term, we also hope that the things we do now to keep healthy will stand to us in later years. Scientists in Germany have also been interested in the link between how we live our lives and the effect that it has on our long-term future and recently carried out research to find out more. It seems that by eating our greens and keeping active, we really are setting ourselves up for better health in the future.
Researchers from KIT, the universities Konstanz and Bayreuth as well as of Technische Universitat Munchen conducted a basic study on approximately 500 adults over a long term and the results have recently been published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise. The results showed that adopting healthy habits at an early adult age will help to prevent health problems in later life.
The researchers looked at four areas of the participants’ lives; environmental factors such as socioeconomic status, personal factors such as stress management strategies, behavioural factors such as nutritional habits and the fourth category was physical fitness and health. When the researchers examined the results 18 years later, it was clear that participants’ initial physical exercise and nutritional habits had a direct link to their health and wellbeing at the end of the study.
This study is not the first to prove that healthy eating and exercise helps to keep us well in the long run, a 2012 Swedish study, published online in the British Medical Journal, found that adopting a healthy lifestyle could add up to five years to a woman’s life and six to a man’s. According to this study, keeping physically fit and active had the strongest link with living longer. Overall, the people who had a healthy lifestyle; non-smokers, physically active, a good social network, lived 5.4 years longer than those who had bad lifestyle habits.
So next time you are tempted to take the lift instead of the stairs or grab a fatty take-away instead of preparing a home cooked meal, think of the future and make a healthy choice instead. Your body will thank you for it in years to come!
Author: Fiona McBennett