Walk your way to more time

The Best Times Digital Edition

February 25, 2021

By Crystal Futrell

It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young; they just don’t appreciate it.

From my experience, I believe this is true. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be older. But now that I’m older, I find waiting is not such a bad thing! Even my teenage son often complains that time is moving too slowly for him. He wants a job and independence. But I just want time to slow down.

While there’s not much we can do about the speed of time, there are some things that research shows we can do to potentially extend the time we have. Researchers who study the lives of people who’ve lived the longest determined that there are eight key habits that foster longevity. These habits include:

  1. Destressing – Stress activates our bodies’ “flight or fight” instincts. Constant stress wears our bodies down which leads to many health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Developing a regular relaxing routine can help slow everything down and give your body a chance to recover.
  2. Purpose – Having a purpose brings meaning to life and helps put difficult situations into perspective. All people at any stage in life can have a purpose. Your purpose doesn’t have to be big; it just must be meaningful for you.
  3. Eating plants – It’s no secret that healthy eating is good for our bodies. You can’t eat healthfully without eating plants. They’re packed with nutrients which are the essential components that sustain our bodies—and our lives.
  4. Spending time with loved ones – Surrounding ourselves with people who want the best for us not only feels good—it is good!
  5. 80% rule – We should listen to our bodies when we eat and drop the fork when we feel 80% full.
  6. Right tribe – Want to change your habits? Change your tribe! We tend to model the people we’re around, so surround yourself with people who support positive behaviors.
  7. Belong – All of the longest living populations belonged to a faith-based community from different denominations. Being connected, physically or virtually, to a unified community can add purpose—and time.
  8. Move naturally – It’s not vital to be a marathoner or weightlifter to extend time, but it is vital to move. Finding ways to be active naturally throughout the day can do wonders for our health.

Want to learn more about these lifestyle habits? Join our eight-week Walk Kansas program that challenges you to move more, sit less and make better nutrition choices. Each week we’ll explore one of these topics through a Zoom class and encourage you to make healthy choices.

To learn more about this program and how to participate, visit our johnson.k-state.edu webpage and click on the Walk Kansas link.

Crystal Futrell is the health and food safety agent at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office.