Many of these are common-sense suggestions… with research behind them.
1. Get a colonoscopy. This is suggested for everyone at age 50, unless you have a family history or GI symptoms necessitating one sooner. The worst part, by far, is drinking the bowel prep and having 10+ stools. You do this worst part in the comfort of your own home. When you arrive at the endoscopy center the next day you will take “the best nap of your life” and if a polyp is found most every time it can be removed. You won’t feel the procedure. Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early will still be alive in 10 years according to the American Cancer Society. Many will live a normal lifespan.
2. Stop eating before you are full. Most Americans eat until we are full. Know that it takes the body 15 to 20 minutes to realize that you are full. Why is this important? Obesity is rampant… If you are 100 pounds overweight, this can subtract a decade from your life, according to an Oxford University study. So, eat until you are 3/5 full and add years to your life.
3. Use sunscreen. 3.5 million Americans will get skin cancer this year. 76,000 more will develop melanoma per the American Cancer Society. You may add 20 years to your life per a CDC study showing that those who die of melanoma died two decades prematurely. Sun does not cause all cases of melanoma, but it does cause most of them.
3. Stop smoking. If you quit by age 30, you may increase your lifespan by 10 years. Quit by 40, add nine years. Quit at 50, add six years. Quit at sixty, add three years.
4. Get more sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to memory problems, anger, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, car accidents and obesity. Aim for 7 hours of sleep per night to give your body back what it needs.
5. Exercise. Any level of exercise is valuable. Walking gets you outside AND you get Vitamin D. Even 15 minutes a day of exercise is beneficial. One study on public radio reported that every minute you exercise adds seven minutes to your life. Not bad, eh?