Do you want to look, feel, sleep and love better? (and dare we say work smarter?)

Dr John Tickell presents five ways to achieve all of the above.

The futurists are telling us that our life expectancy has peaked and that our great-grandchildren will probably not live as long as we do. In the 20th century, life expectancy rose by about 10 years, mainly because of three things – sanitation, vaccination and antibiotics. There were also better therapies for some cancers, such as leukaemia, and organ transplants.

While life expectancy may have peaked, our health expectancy is plummeting. We are getting sicker, earlier – heart attacks (200 a day), diabetes (3000 a week) – and it’s estimated that one in three of us will get cancer. We are literally making our children vulnerable and, of course, we are role models for our children and grandchildren.

One of my three heroes in life, George Burns, did live until he was 100, and enjoyed every minute of his life, while proving that you did not need to be a fanatic.

Fanatics of any shade are boring – fanatical eaters, fanatical exercisers, religious fanatics, all-about-money fanatics… and they run out of friends fairly quickly.

If you love exploring our continent by taking to our well-maintained national highways, you’re already ahead. Enhance the experience by staying fit and healthy while travelling. On the road be flexible, explore different places and meet interesting people, all of which will broaden your mind.

The bottom line: we only get one go at this life, so feel 10 years younger. Do you want to look better, feel better, sleep better and love better?

Here are my five musts for living the good life:

1. If you take the ‘f’ out of ‘life’, you are living a LIE, and that’s the truth. My big four ‘fs’ are family, fun, friendships and faith. Put them back into your life.

2. Stay busy or die – be careful never to retire. You’re tired; why would you want to get re-tired? If you retire, what are you actually going to do? Coffee, newspaper, and then what? Golf? If you are over 65 you will never get better at golf.

3. Do the ‘one-percenters’ – they make a positive life difference: Send a thank-you note. Take three slow, deep breaths to get your blood pressure lower. Say “well done” to someone. Walk on a beach, or in a forest or park. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in some time. Do six backward shoulder rolls to loosen up your spine. Go to a movie or read a book. Plan your next 3×3 with your partner or friend – that’s three days break, three times a year, three months in advance. Just do it. Become part of a community. The longest living and healthiest people do not live in concrete boxes stacked one on top of the other! They live in villages and communities.

4. Keep achieving. Forward-looking is the cornerstone of a long, healthy life. Look forward to things; mixing with people, especially younger people; aim at something you can do or make happen or achieve in the next three, six or 12 months.

5. Improve your ‘ACE’ skills: activity, coping and eating. Activity: move – start with a brisk 30 minute walk five times a week. That’s just two-and-a-half hours of the approximately 112 hours you are awake each week and represents just four percent of a 24 hour day. Coping: get out of the pressure cooker – often. Eating: eat more plant and less flesh foods. Eat many more low ‘HI’ foods – that’s foods low in human interference – foods and drinks that are not processed, refined, fried, and destroyed with sugar, packaging, preservatives, added salt, hormones, shelf life and use-by dates. Forget willpower and adopt won’t power: “I won’t stuff 45 of the 50 fries that have been served as part of my balanced meal into the amazing machine that is my body.

John Tickell

Dr John Tickell is an Australian medical doctor, businessman, author, speaker, and former athlete who has spent the past 25 years researching and visiting more than 100 countries to study the habits of the longest-living and healthiest people on earth.

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