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by John Briley, AARP Bulletin, December 23, 2009
As the tinsel comes off trees and holiday decorations are stashed away, many look with grim determination towards the New Year and resolve to lead healthier lives. But must New Year’s resolutions be so tedious? Go to the gym, eat healthy, work harder, sacrifice, self-discipline … grumble, yawn, quit. No wonder most resolutions are distant memories by springtime. But what if your New Year’s resolution list looked like this?
• Drink wine
• Eat chocolate
• Have sex
• Take a nap
• Get some sun
Sounds like a fun 2010! But healthy?
Actually, yes. While getting and staying healthy does require a certain level of discipline—exercise, balanced diet, portion control, etc.—many of life’s more enjoyable activities can also boost your health. Scientific studies have shown this.
Frequent sex lowers prostate cancer risk in men. Laughing triggers feel-good chemicals in the brain that in turn lower blood pressure. Dancing is linked to a lower risk of dementia in older Americans. Regular naps help with concentration, creativity and memory. And drinking red wine can extend longevity, giving you more years to enjoy dark chocolate (which lowers blood pressure).
The caveats are important: Too much of anything (except maybe laughing) could be harmful, and there’s no substitute for exercise to achieve significant calorie burn and strengthen muscles.
But if you want a resolution list that will feel as fresh in July as it does in January, click through this slideshow above and commit to having a little more fun in 2010.
John Briley writes about health, fitness and travel.
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