New Study Finds Ways To Live Longer That Will Benefit Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

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The choices you make now can make a lasting difference. People who stick to a healthy lifestyle even at an advanced age can live longer, suggests a new Norwegian study. Though the study is geared toward the general population many of the findings can be adopted by the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Community. A healthy lifestyle does not have to mean treadmills and salads everyday for people with CKD.

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Specific findings include sticking to an exercise regimen, avoiding cigarettes and logging adequate sleep. Researchers analyzed the fitness habits of men in their 50s and then followed up several decades later. They found that 49% of guys who did not smoke and regularly broke a sweat reached age 85 while only 28% of men who did not smoke or exercise made it to the same age. What's more, 46% of normal-weight participants made it to 85 and only 29% of those who were overweight reached the mark. Also, the study affirmed that clocking 5 hours of sleep or less per night is associated with a 12% greater risk of death. Many activities that are fun and pleasurable are also good for you. By understanding how some activities can help you live longer and what to do to get the most benefits, you will be putting some fun into healthy living.

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Make exercise playful by finding physical games that keep both your body and mind healthy like pushing your kids or grandkids on a swing or playing catch. Simple exercise routines such as leg lifts or stretching are great for maintaining balance, flexibility, endurance and strength. Charades or other group games can give your mind and body a light workout as well as enhance your relationship with your loved ones. Find a game and activity that suits your level of physical ability and play it often!

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Spend time with your loved ones because relationships are an important part of health. Not only do strong bonds with other people mean you will have help when you need it, being connected also means protection from loneliness, depression, and mental illness. Spend time cultivating your relationships with friends and family to improve your health and your life.

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Solve puzzles and play brain games such as KidneyBuzz.com Word Search, to keep your mind agile, alert and engaged. Games can exercise different parts of your mind and entice your curiosity. You may also consider playing social games like chess or bridge that exercise your brain while keeping you connected with others.

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Relaxation is the opposite of stress. While stress brings harmful health effects relaxation helps our bodies to rest, heal and function better. By practicing daily relaxation techniques, you can train yourself to turn off your stress and replace it with calm energy. This will improve your blood pressure, heart rate and ability to cope with life's challenges that are sure to arise as a CKD patient.

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Smiling is a great way to relax, change your attitude and connect with people. It can work to counteract the effects of stress. By forcing yourself to smile, you "trick" your body into believing that everything is good, thereby reducing stress. Like a switch, smiling can actually change your mood. So put a smile on, even if you don't feel like it, and pretty soon you will be smiling for real.

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Carrying a positive attitude can add more than seven years to your life, according to researchers. Avoid the cultural push to glorify how things were before you were sick and regret each passing year. Find ways to create pleasure in your current circumstances and enjoy greater learning, experience, and control in your life.

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Be sure to take care of your heart because CKD and heart disease are strongly linked and everything you do to help alleviate the effects of CKD (diet, exercise, etc.) also helps your heart. Although most stages of CKD are incurable, you can lead a long and pleasant life. If you follow the advice of your healthcare team it will help you feel better and help you make better health decisions. Hence, KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you talk to your healthcare team before altering your treatment plan in any way.

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References: 

"The Easiest Way to Live a Longer Life" Men's Health News. 

Stibich, Mark, Ph.D. "Top 10 Fun Ways to Live Longer." About.com

"Chronic Kidney Disease: What Does It Mean for Me?" - National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP)