I recently read an article that talked about a study showing the biggest factor in heart disease risk is stationary hours - that's hours spent not really moving much, whether that's watching TV or in our case, sitting on the couch with a laptop, basically not moving all day.
I then watched this video on longevity from a recent TED conference:
If you don't have 20mins to watch the video basically some people did a study on communities around the world with a high proportion of centenarians and found the following common themes amongst those communities:
- The people move naturally - they don't exercise as we do, physical activity is part of their daily lives. Whether they're out collecting firewood, doing the gardening or cleaning the house, they have lots of natural movement in their average day.
- Right outlook - they're positive and aren't overly stressed.
- Sense of purpose - they don't retire
- Eat wisely - they don't binge drink, they have a plant based diet and they don't overeat.
- Connect - they have strong family groups, are often involved in faith based groups and their friends also do the points above, making it easy and natural for them to stick with these healthy habits.
I'm not doing a particularly good job yet, but here's what I've been doing to try to meet some of these things:
- I do a fair amount of exercise - I aim for 1.5 hours a day of yoga, running or something similar and I've recently started to get into indoor rock climbing. But I'm now trying to add more general movement activities like walking or running places instead of catching the bus, as well as attempting to get excited by things like cleaning the house as that means I can move.
- Running a startup is definitely stressful but I'm trying to put less pressure on myself and take some of the unnecessary stress out of my day.
- Retirement isn't exactly on my radar just yet, and I'm pretty sure I'd be bored by that anyway, but not 'retiring' is a good thing to keep in the back of the mind so that I develop interests that I can keep for the rest of my life.
- I love overeating but have recently been doing less of that. And I've pretty much eliminated binge drinking which I did a lot of in my uni days. I read another article a few years back about a study showing that rats who eat very light meals live 50% longer than average rats. I'm not a rat, but I've been eating a little less anyway. I've also been getting into cooking healthyish meals and have been making quite tasty salad sandwiches for lunch everyday.
- Losing connections with people was one of my big fears with leaving Google and working from home. I'm quite happy with how this is panning out. I catch up with friends regularly and head into the Google office for a game of poker and to catch up with friends every once in a while. Twitter and Facebook are both fantastic tools for staying connected with people too. And I've been making some new friends who are also doing startups, and a few of them are keen on exercising so we've been combining rock climbing or running with startup related catch ups.
What do you do to stay healthy?