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Living Better

Month: March 2018 (page 2 of 2)

Five countries where people live the longest

Lindsey Galloway writing for BBC Travel:

In these countries, people live substantially longer than the worldwide average of 71 years – and each place has its own reason of vitality.

  • Japan – The Japanese live to 83 on average.

Much credit for this has been given to the local diet, which includes plentiful tofu and sweet potato, and a small amount of fish. Active social circles among older residents and a strong community also contribute to lower levels of stress and a strong sense of belonging.

  • Spain

The Mediterranean diet, rich in heart-healthy olive oil, vegetables and wine, has long contributed to Spain’s long-lived population (averaging 82.8). But Spain has another longevity secret up its sleeve: the siesta.

  • Singapore

With broad access to the country’s state-of-the-art medical facilities and what’s been called a ‘miracle’ healthcare system, Singaporeans are living longer than ever at an average of 83.1 years old. The country has one of the lowest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, and makes preventative care a focus of its healthcare.

  • Switzerland

Men fare better in Switzerland than anywhere else in the world, living to be 81 on average. As one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, access to high-quality healthcare, strong personal safety and sense of wellbeing contributes to the high rank – with some studies even pointing to the country’s high intake of cheese and dairy as a leading factor.

  • South Korea

South Korea is set to be the first country to hit a life expectancy of 90 years according to recent research, which credits a strong and growing economy, broad access to healthcare and lower blood pressure than Western countries for its upward trajectory.

The secrets of Denmark, one of the happiest countries in the world

Susan Kamenar, writing in National Geographic:

There is no magical formula for hygge, it is more about the quality of time spent than where or how you spend it, so wherever you are, slow down, get cozy, and savor the moment with close family and friends.

Exercise might be the best medicine we have against mental decline

Business Insider:

A study published this week in the journal Neurology suggested that women who were physically fit in middle age were roughly 88% less likely to develop dementia (defined as a decline in memory severe enough to interfere with daily life) than their peers who were only moderately fit.

Neuroscientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied 191 women whose average age was 50 for 44 years. First, they assessed their cardiovascular health using a cycling test and grouped them into three categories: fit, moderately fit, or unfit.

Over the next four decades, the researchers regularly screened the women for dementia. In that time, 32% of the unfit women were diagnosed with the condition; a quarter of the moderately fit women did. But only 5% of the fit women developed dementia.


For people with heart disease, losing weight may not prolong life, but increasing physical activity will

The study found that in some coronary heart disease patients — those of normal weight — weight loss actually increased the risk for death.

Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times:

Lowering body mass index by more than 0.10 in a year was associated with a 30 percent increase in the risk for death, but only in those of normal weight at the start. Weight gain was not associated with mortality.

Compared to patients who were inactive, those who did 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week reduced their risk by 19 percent. Those who exercised more than that had a 36 percent reduction in mortality.

Standing desks may be a hazard to our health

A published study by Curtin University in Australia has found that users of standing desk are reporting lower back and lower limb pain. The drawbacks of standing for long periods can also include swollen veins, heart problems, and a diminished mental reactiveness.

Henry Bodkin, writing for Telegraph:

Experts have warned that despite the “feverish” trend towards adopting the adjustable desks, there is little solid evidence to support their use, as well as concerns they may do more harm than good.

The devices are becoming increasingly commonplace as awareness improves regarding the dangers of sedentary living – most office workers spend more than 80 per cent of the time sitting – and they are also popular with people suffering from back pain.

But the new study, published in the journal Ergonomics, has linked prolonged use of standing desks with lower limb discomfort and deteriorating mental reactiveness.

Sitting for too long isn’t exactly good for you either. So, skip the trendy office furniture, get up out of your seat every so often, and go for a walk. Keep active.

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