All of my patients can now stop rolling their eyes every time this Comox Valley Chiropractor tells them to stop smoking, exercise more, eat well and drink moderately. My patients are quite used to my preachings on living a healthier lifestyle, and now (as if I didn’t have enough research to back me up) a new article has been posted in the British Medical Journal extolling these virtues.

This 24-year long study followed a group of over 77,000 women between the ages of 34 and 59 who had no signs of heart disease (when the study began). They wanted to determine the relation of their health to 5 lifestyle factors:

  1. Being overweight
  2. Smoking
  3. Excessive drinking
  4. Poor Diet
  5. Little physical activity

Over the years 8882 of the women died – 1790 from heart disease and 4527 from cancer. Each of the above lifestyle factors was found to significantly increase the chance of dying from any disease (not just those listed above). Another interesting fact is that women who drank moderately (up to one drink per day) actually had less chance of dying from heart disease than those who did not drink at all.

While it may seem like a tall order to follow the recommendations of this study, it really doesn’t need to be that complicated. You don’t need to hit the gym, lift weights and run ten miles everyday. Often, a healthy lifestyle is all about the little things.

Quitting smoking is a must. No if, ands or buts. If you are having trouble, both acupuncture and low intensity laser therapy are safe and effective options. You don’t need to give up your wine or spirits, simply moderate it to a one-drink a day maximum.

Simple diet choices can significantly improve your nutrition, while decreasing obesity. Choose whole grain foods, less red meats and cut out the soda and excess sugar. As for exercise, walking to work or the corner store will ensure that you achieve the 30 minutes of exercise per day that is considered minimum.

Revamping your entire life to begin an unsustainable nutritional and exercise plan is not the answer – you need to make sure you take small steps in the right direction and change your lifestyle in a comfortable way. These simple changes can literally mean cutting your risk of early death by 50%.