Live a Longer, Happier Life and How Technology Can Help (Part 3)

Today we’re taking a look at the top 10 of the top 20 influences on enjoying a happy, long life. If you missed the first two instalments, you can find them here and here. The top 10 are pretty straightforward, so we can easily cover them in one post.

10 – Drink More Water

The human body is made up of between 55 and 75 per cent water, and is in need of constant replenishment. Most people don’t get the recommended intake per day. Most people don’t even realize what’s appropriate for them and rely on feeling thirsty, which is not a good way to gauge. It’s important to get the right intake of water as this will greatly enhance digestion‚ nutrient absorption‚ detoxification, skin hydration‚ and many other aspects of better health. I’ve been inclined to drink even as I write this.

You can calculate the right amount for your body weight and activity level by using an online calculator, like the one here. Then you can use either a larger container with markings (mine shows me the time of day I should reach each marking – super motivating to get sipping!) or measure your favorite container and keep track of how many refills are needed. And remember, wine and other alcohol doesn’t count toward your water intake and can actually leave your body more dehydrated.

9 – Monitor Your Bowel Habits

Just when you thought there was at least one area without an app for it, you have to think again! Here is a list of 5 apps to help you keep track of your habits. Even if you don’t use technology here, do remember any noteworthy change in bowel habits such as an increase in constipation, or passing blood should be referred to a doctor immediately. It could be something simple like hemorrhoids, but you don’t want to bet your life to save some potential awkwardness.

8 – Have Regular Smears or Prostate Check-Ups

Cervical screening prevents thousands of deaths each year. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men and is second only to lung cancer as the biggest cancer killer. However you prefer to book your appointment, with a phone or a booking platform, just book (and keep) your appointment.

7 – Regular Self-Examinations

For women this means regularly examining their breasts; males should regularly check their testicles for lumps. It is important to report any changes, such as a lump, to your doctor. More often than not, lumps prove to be benign, and these types of cancer are usually curable if they’re caught early enough. If you’re not sure what to look for, the Mayo Clinic site has good overviews for breast screening here and testicular screening here.

6- Drink Red Wine

Now that we’ve made it through the awkward part, we can head back to the fun parts of enjoying a long and happy life…. It seems that the research keeps changing regarding the benefits and harms of drinking. However recent studies show that drinking around one glass of red wine a day may have health benefits by protecting against certain cancers and heart disease, and can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Excessive or binge drinking, however, unfortunately doesn’t produce the same benefits. Nor do other alcoholic beverages. Although they can make you happy… Given you want to make that one glass count, you can make use of plenty of online review sites to see how other consumers and or experts have rated the bottle you’re considering. And there’s a nifty contraption called coravin that lets you extract as much or as little wine from a bottle with a cork without exposing it to air and thus starting the degradation process. It’s pricey, but when you consider over time the wine that won’t go to waste, it might be well worth it. You can find it here.

5 – Drink Tea

As much as we’d prefer to read that we should drink more coffee, deep down we know that’s not the case. But recent research studies reveal the antioxidants in tea (black or green tea) may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, support dental health, increase bone density and strengthen cardiovascular systems. According to a study published in Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association, heart attack patients who were tea drinkers decreased their risk of death by up to 44 per cent, as compared to non-tea drinkers. Beyond review sites, there’s very little here that tech can help with. It’s good enough to just put the kettle on!

4 – Boost your Sex Life

Having sex between three to four times a week is thought to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in half. During sex, the average person maintains their heart rate above 70 per cent of the maximum, and sex reduces stress, leads to greater contentment and better sleep. We’ll leave it to your own judgment how technology could help you in this regard, but if you are looking for a romantic partner, see tip # 18 here.

3 – Eat more Garlic

At this point you may be suspicious, like I am, that the order of these top tips isn’t necessarily scientifically ranked, but the evidence is clear that eating garlic is good for your health. This, along with lots of veg and fruit, is part of what’s knows as the “Mediterranean diet”. Garlic is sometimes even referred to as ‘nature’s antibiotic’. Regularly consuming it promotes a healthy heart and circulation by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps fight infection and can boost immunity. There is strong evidence to suggest that garlic helps with the prevention of cancers of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum. Those who don’t like the taste of garlic should try the odorless supplements that are available. Technology can help again by providing almost limitless access to free recipes. Simply try searching for “recipes with garlic” or similar.

2 – Adjust your Sleep Time

Did you know that life expectancy may be reduced by sleeping more than eight hours a night? Tell that to the teen in your life! A study found that people who get between six to seven hours sleep a night live longer than those who sleep eight hours or more, or less than four hours. Here technology can help in spades! Your smartphone likely already has an app included that when activated can track the time spent asleep. Your smartphone can also serve a gentle reminder when it’s time to shut off notifications, start winding down and eventually head to bed. There are apps you can install (many paid for) that can help you with relaxation either through guided meditation or by listening to a bedtime story read in dulcet tones (sometimes by your favorite actor even!). Many apps like Calm will offer a free trial.

1 – Laugh More

So laughter really is “the best medicine”, as the saying goes! Laughing appears to boost the blood flow by more than 20 per cent and researchers say it may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Laughing has been found to help fight infections, ease pain, relieve hay fever, and even help control diabetes. And the positive effect of laughing is thought to last around 30 to 45 minutes! However, while children laugh on average 300 times per day, adults laugh fewer than 20 times in the same period.

How can we use technology to get more laughter in? Short of buying a tickling machine, we can use the suggestions made earlier to use technology like messaging or video calling apps to connect more frequently with our friends and family. Particularly those who make us laugh. If your circle isn’t very funny, you can always take a page from teens’ habits and check out TikTok or YouTube for funny videos. Or ask Siri (Apple’s voice command) or Alexa (Amazon’s) to tell you a joke. These are hit or miss, but they do change every day.

The original article which we’ve adapted to include technology is available here.

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