How to Live Longer and Have the Best Healthy Lifestyle

How to Live Longer and Have the Best Healthy Lifestyle

How to live longer? Get your body on the move. It’s as if the older we get, the more we sit on the couch. Reading, watching TV, falling asleep. This attitude is addictive. More and more the body likes to sit on the couch

As with most addictions, it’s very hard to get rid of it. Prevention is actually the best way to try to avoid this risk. And yes, this means you have to change. And your body will disagree. 

When you start simple with one move or exercise and always reward yourself with some relaxation afterwards, you will notice that it will get easier in due time. This article gives a variety of suggestions that will support your efforts to get on the move. 

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How to live longer?

Apart from making healthy food choices, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking, one of the most important factors to living longer and being healthy is to move our body.

A bicycle under your desk

Stretching is important

The Dutch neuropsychologist Erik Scherder is famous for his never-ending, and very professional efforts to make us move. He is the physical proof of his efforts. Underneath his desk at his office, he has installed some pedals from a bicycle. So, even behind his desk, he moves his legs.

Scherder is convinced that specifically when you grow older you should move more, walk more, and even run more. I totally agree. And there are many more ways to get your body on the move. Or more in general, to take good care of your body.

Get your body in the right position

Most of us need to be reminded that standing up straight is good for our bodies. Put your feet firmly on the floor and bend just slightly through your knees. See to it that your feet are positioned underneath your hips and your toes point forward.

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This is also a fine position to train the muscles of your belly. Strong muscles help your body to stand up straight. They also improve your balance, which prevents falls and injuries.

Move your body around

Most important is that you avoid sitting for long periods of time. Use a timer that gets you out of your chair every half hour or every hour. Get up and walk around. Inside or outside the house. Alternate your pace. One time you walk as you’re used to, the other time you fasten your pace.

When you sit, this doesn’t mean that you stay immobile. You can do some very easy and good exercises while sitting on a regular straight kitchen chair. First swing your right leg up from the flour, forward from the knee. Do this 10 – 15 times. Next the other leg.

Another good exercise is to lift up one foot from the floor and move it around in circles. Next, the other one. Do this 10 – 15 times. The best is, you start circling your foot with the clock, and then against it. Yes, this means you move both feet twice.

Get your body away behind your desk

Stretching before cycling

I wrote this article standing up behind the top of one of my bookshelves. My laptop was on top. There I can also read. My books, articles and my e-reader. Try and stand on one foot. This is a good exercise to train your balance. Alternate the foot.

The interesting thing is that specifically when you’re reading standing straight up, you can do some body moves. You can alternately move your knees forward and backwards from a slightly bent position. You can swing your hips around in circles, to keep your pelvis flexible.

Stretch your muscles

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This is almost too easy. You can stretch most of your muscles standing up. For instance, stand up straight (this is very important), turn your head slowly to the left and watch over your shoulder. Keep this position for a few seconds until you feel which muscles are stretching. Turn your head back slowly and turn your head to the right.

Another easy one. Bend both your knees and feel the muscles in your calves. Or, put your hands in your hips and slowly turn your torso to the left. Keep it there for some seconds and turn your torso back. Next, turn to the right.

You can stretch your muscles in the front of your upper leg by lifting your left foot backwards with your right hand behind your back. Keep your leg in this position for 10 seconds. Alternate with your right foot and left hand. When you don’t support yourself and stand straight on one foot, this is also a very good balance exercise.

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Relax your body

Exercise: Mountainclimber

After a hard day full of exercises, walks, runs, and stretches, it’s good to relax. Lay down on your back. Use a stiff but not too hard surface. Keep your feet flat on the surface, bend your knees upwards and move your feet – still flat on the surface – into the direction of your behind. Then turn your knees simultaneously to the floor, one to the left and the other to the right. Do this 10 – 15 times. It’s important you keep your feet flat on the surface.

If you want to train your belly muscles more, put your back firmly on the surface. Cross your feet over each other and lift your legs from the surface. Cross your hands over your chest. Then slowly move your head up from the surface while simultaneously lifting your legs up to your stomach. Don’t overdo the moves. 10 – 15 times is enough. Get your body on the move and relax.

Did you enjoy the moves, stretches, and exercises in this article? Please let us know in the comment box.

12 thoughts on “How to Live Longer and Have the Best Healthy Lifestyle”

  1. Dear Tom
    Thank you so for this article.
    It’s true that as you get older, all your body wants to do is to sit around. The body actually gets lazy.

    I like the bicycle under the desk a good.

    As writers, we spend a lot of time sitting at our desks, it’s a habit and then an addiction.
    Don’t laugh now, what I do to counter sitting for endless hours is to drink plenty of water! This way, I must move whether I like it or not?.

    The stretching and standing bit is always very good. I learned something new today.

    Thank you.

    • Dear Ibi,
      Yes you made me laugh too. To drink much water is always good. Yet I never interpreted it as an argument to move much.
      There’s nothing more difficult than to get rid of an addiction. Any attempt is good. Start slow, take your time. It took me over 2 years to get rid of 20 kg overweight. I still have to take good care of my bodyweight, but it’s going good now. Never felt any better.
      Thank you for your comment. Always appreciated.

  2. I really liked reading your detailed post on exercise. This is something I am really really keen on! I feel through exercise we can stay away from diseases for a long long time as well as stay young, fresh and energetic! Whatever age an individual is, it’s never too late to get up, stretch your legs, or whole body, bike, run, walk or whatever you can do, just do it for the sake of yourself and your loved one. The practical ideas you have shared in your post are awesome to get someone started off right away.

    Many Thanks for this amazing post.

    • Thank you Habib.
      Compliments are always welcome and make me feel really proud. The more so when people share my ideas, expand on them, and try to implement them in practice.
      The point I tried to make in my post is that you can do all kind of little moves and exercises during the day, when you actually do something else. Even when you sit you can do all kind of things that are good for the muscles, your body and your mind.
      Thank you for your comment.

  3. I definitely recommend moving while at your desk and getting away from your desk frequently. Unfortunately, by the time I figured that out I had developed varicose veins and now have to wear compression socks when I work.
    The exercises and stretching you recommend in this article are spot on!
    I look forward to more of these articles as I’m quickly approaching 60 myself!

    • Thanks Les.
      That’s unfortunate you suffer from varicose veins. I wonder though, is it difficult to move your legs with the compression socks?
      Or do they hamper you in any way to move the rest of your body freely? There are plenty of exercises, moves and stretches you can do without using your legs.
      Do you get any exercise suggestions from your physician? He/she may know what you can and cannot do with varicose veins.
      Keep up the good exercise though.

  4. This was a great read and an even better reminder to be moving around. As soon as I read that you were writing this post while you were standing, that entire image seemed so fascinating to me. I am super intrigued to try that out myself- what an idea! Other than that I also enjoyed your other points. Very useful, effective, and easy exercises to maintain movement.

    A couple members of my family (elder ones) prefer sleeping on a flatter, firmer surface as it is better for their backs and posture. However, when I tried it, it seemed to hurt the lower back a lot. Is there something you could suggest to remedy this?

  5. Dear Sacha,
    Writing or reading standing up is good because it forces you to watch your posture. In the beginning it is very important that you train yourself to stand up straight and to not lean on one leg or on your arms. This takes some exercise. I started with 1 hour, and now I can stand for 3 to 4 hours in a row. Every half hour to the hour I get away behind my computer and walk around or do some chores in the house.
    A flat and firm surface is good for your body. Although your mattress should give in a little with the curves of your body. If your lower back hurts a lot, this probably has to do with the flexibility of your lower body. I think that a lack of flexibility of your lower body can be caused by several things. However, I’m no physician. So if you want to be sure, consult one. Although some practice with a tougher surface might also do the trick (you might do some of the suggested moves and exercises on such a surface). Unless the pain keeps you awake. Again, if so, consult your physician.

  6. Hi Tom,
    I have one of these stationary bikes since a couple of months! It is great to follow a webinar or be in an online meeting and cycling in the same time. While typing I don’t use it, it is a distraction then.
    I will follow your example and empty one of my book shelves, excellent plan. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Kadanza,

      Thank you for your comment. A stationary bike is excellent. You can take a ride whenever you want. No rain, cold, wind, or steep mountains to stop you. And yes, you can even do a virtual video conference.

      However, when it comes to my bookshelves, things get a bit more complicated. One shelf with non-sensical books is okay. But the other 10 must stay. I cannot say goodbye to most of my books. I cherish them too much.

      Nevertheless, perhaps in the future, I will start to dislike more and more of my books and another half shelf will have to go. I will keep you posted.

      Stay safe, stay healthy.

      Kind Regards,

      • Oh, I am waaaayyyyyy to attached to my books to get rid of them… I only made a tiny bit of room for my laptop! Am not really used to it yet, I guess it has to grow on me.

        • Hi Kadanza,

          Oh yes, I can understand why you don’t want to get rid of your books. I love books.

          We’ve been regularly moving for the past 30 years and with every move, I gave books away. Of course, I also bought books in between. Replenishing what was lost. Giving them away again with the next move.

          This changed now I have an e-reader. Now I never have to give books away again. Unless I give them as a present of course.

          Unfortunately, my laptop has only a limited capacity for all the studies I need. So I use an external hard disk where I store hundreds of studies I need for my work. My hard disk is very patient – it has much space – so I do not have to throw anything away. Although I think I need another hard disk, to secure the first one.

          Thank you for your comment. Stay safe, stay healthy.



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