Massage therapists know that self-care is essential to a thriving practice and healthy life—and new research shows how simple changes can add up to more years of life.

According to a press release form the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, these seven strategies could potential add 10 years or more to your life:

1. Get active. Inactivity can shave almost four years off a person’s expected lifespan. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke.

2. Know and control your cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol can lead to the build up of fatty deposits in your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.

3 Follow a healthy diet. Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health – yet about many people don’t meet the healthy eating recommendations.

4. Know and control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because it has no warning signs or symptoms. By knowing and controlling your blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent and the risk of heart attack by up to 25 per cent.

5. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Many Americans are either overweight or obese, major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Being obese can reduce your life span by almost four years.

6. Manage diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), coronary artery disease, and stroke, particularly if your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.

7. Be tobacco free. As soon as you become smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease. After 15 years ,your risk will be nearly that of a non-smoker.

 

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