With all of the media telling us different stories about what makes us healthy, how do we really know what to do?

I was driving home this morning from a meeting at my son's school listening to a popular morning show in San Diego. They were reading a list of things that determine your life expectancy. I came into the conversation late, so I am uncertain where they found the list, but this is what they whole-heartedly believed and told their audience:

1. If you floss you will live longer
2. If you can stand up without falling over you will live longer
3. Having a college degree adds 10 years to your life
4. Being a fast walker makes you live longer

There were more, but these stood out to me. So here's my problem with this.

1. One DJ said that the bacteria in your mouth is what kills people who don't floss. Truthfully, if you are 90 and start flossing now, you may or may not live longer, but it probably doesn't have to do with the act of flossing, rather the mindset that has been changed. The reason it SEEMS flossing saves your life is because people with healthy dental habits tend to live healthier and more active lives. They tend to be more educated about health from a younger age because the behaviors were modeled for them at home.

2. Getting up and down is a skill just like anything else. If you lead a sedentary life, you do not have the balance and muscular capacity to get up and down easily. If you simply have good balance it does not mean you will live longer. If you have good balance because you live a healthy and active lifestyle, you will most likely live longer.

3. Brain health is extremely important for our overall health, so having a college degree definitely helps with longevity due to healthier brain matter. But the true reason we live longer when we have a degree is because we have access to healthier foods and activities, AND we were probably modeled the behavior at home.

4. You're more likely a fast walker because you're in better physical health. I know some people like to just meander, but I would say most people I know who walk quickly are overall moderately healthy.

With all of the information we have floating out there to tell us how to be healthy, it mostly boils down to the dos and don'ts of good common sense:

  • Over eat
  • Eat out too much
  • Sit in front of the TV, video games or computer too long (don't worry it's ok to finish reading my blog)
  • Stay up too late
  • Stress too much
  • Get a good night's sleep
  •  Workout regularly
  • Stay active 
  • Eat your fruits and veggies
  • Drink Water
  • Meditate/Pray
  • Take time for yourself
If you're doing all the right things, I mean truly doing them, you should be a pretty healthy person who will live a long, active life. If you're not making the healthy choices, there's no time like the present! If you're one of those people who want to make a change, but cannot seem to stay committed, take a look at my Waist Wars Challenge. It may just be what you have been looking for to help you make the shift!

Until next time, practice healthy habits and smile a bunch!