How to Stay Healthy Until the End of Life

  • By Kim Chul-joong

    November 04, 2017 08:42

    The number of centenarians is rising steadily in rapidly aging Korea. But rather than spending these extra years bed-ridden, how can you remain healthy? Here is some useful advice for keeping illness at bay from the Korean Medical Association.

    One modern source of discomfort is overdependence on smart devices. It is advisable to refrain from using smartphones for a couple of hours before going to bed. Bright blue light from smartphones disrupts biorhythms and can cause insomnia. Don't get in the habit of using the devices during meals, as it reduces movement and induces excessive eating.

    Avoiding exposure to fine dust particles is also recommended. According to the World Health Organization, inhalation of fine dust particles causes 7 million people to die early every year, more than smoking. For every 5㎍/㎥ increase in the density of fine dust particles, the risk of lung cancer increases by 22 percent. Try not to go outside when fine dust levels are high, and wear a mask if you must.

    It is also important to maintain a regular sleep cycle by getting up at the same time every morning. Taking a nap for more than 30 minutes during the day can negatively affect your sleep at night. The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is seven to eight hours. Staying physically active during the day and getting lots of sunshine will help you sleep well at night.

    It may seem obvious, but it is easy to underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits by quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating balanced meals, and getting regular medical checkups. Try to reduce excessive intake of carbohydrates and stay away from sodas and sugary fruit juices, which quickly raise your blood sugar level.

    If you want to quit smoking, your chances of success will be higher if you make your determination known to those around you and consult a doctor. If your face becomes flushed after drinking even a small amount of alcohol, this is a sign that genetically you can't efficiently process alcohol.

    Do regular workouts accompanied by muscle-building exercises at least twice a week. Whatever you are doing -- even when reading or watching television -- try to get up and move about every two hours.

    Positive thinking also has health benefits, reducing the risk of hypertension and heart disease. Do not compare yourself to others and try to be grateful for small things in daily life. Think of good things each day and express gratitude to others. To avoid being consumed by stress and anger, find your own way to deal with them, such as through meditation or breathing techniques, or engaging in a hobby at least once a week. Leave your smartphone at home and go on a day trip, or turn it off for a while and read a book, watch a movie, take a walk or meet up with a friend for a chat.

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