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Live Longer: Eat Right, Exercise and Know Your Numbers

June 28, 2011

With the demands of work, family, and other activities, it's often difficult for people to find the time to exercise and eat right.

Don't make excuses. Dr. Mehmet Oz, physician, talk show host and author, writes in this month's issue of AARP The Magazine that poor diet and lack of exercise can be more harmful than a disease.

As people age, it's more important than ever -- and never too late -- to start following a better lifestyle.

In an appearance today on "Good Morning America," Oz shared six easy steps that you can follow to be more healthy and live longer.

Adults of any age may follow these steps:

Step One: Eat Less Each Day

Eating fewer calories actually increases the body's efficiency. That's because eating a little less each day will improve cells' effectiveness, enhancing the body's ability to repair itself and thereby increasing longevity, Oz said.

Oz also advised that people eat regular meals throughout the day. Eating that way stabilizes the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates the appetite.

Step 2: Know Your Numbers

People pay a lot of attention to the numbers on their scale, but Oz said there many other critical numbers to which people should pay increased attention.

Oz said people should also know their blood pressure, levels of cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and of TSH, the hormone secreted by the thyroid, waist size, and vitamin D blood level.

Here are the optimum levels of the numbers you should know:

Blood pressure: 115/75

Waist size: Less than half your height

HDL level: Greater than 45

LDL level: Less than 100

TSH: Less than 2.5 mIU/L

Fasting blood sugar: Less than 95

Vitamin D blood level: More than 50 ng/l

Step Three: Exercise More

At the very least, people should be walking 30 minutes a day, Oz said. Once you're comfortable with that -- and have checked with your doctor -- you can add weight-bearing, flexibility and balance exercises to your routine.

Depending on your age, you also should be able to do a specific number of push-ups and sit-ups in one minute. Here is a guide:

Men between 50 and 59 years old should be able to do 15 to 19 push-ups and 20 to 24 sit-ups. Women of the same age should be able to do seven to 10 push-ups and 15 to 19 sit-ups.

Men between 60 and 69 years old should be able to do 10 to 14 push-ups and 15 to 19 sit-ups. Women of the same age should be able to do five to 10 push-ups and 10 to 14 sit-ups.

Men who are 70 to 79 years old should be able to do six to nine push-ups and 10 to 14 sit-ups, while women in that age range should be able to perform four to 10 push-ups and seven to nine sit-ups.

At 80 to 89 years old, men should be able to do three to five push-ups and six to nine sit-ups, while women of that age should be able to do two to six push-ups and four to six sit-ups.

Step Four: Manage Your Stress

Chronic stress -- such as that caused by a micro-managing boss or a troubled teen -- can put your body into long-term hyper-alert, lowering your immunity and making you susceptible to illness, Oz said.

Stress is also caused by unresolved problems, which Oz refers to as NUTS -- for Nagging, Unfinished Tasks. Identify the "Nuts" in your life so they don't become a constant source of anxiety, Oz said.

Step Five: Find Purpose

Ask yourself if there's an untapped passion you have, and figure out what obstacles stand in your way. Once you've done that, Oz advises that you try to get around those obstacles so you can pursue your passion.

Step Six: Put It All Together

The key to success is to incorporate all the steps into your daily routine, Oz said.

Colonoscopy: At age 50, then once every 10 years.

Stress test: After age 50.

PSA test: Every year, men only. Levels should be less than 4 ng/ml.

Bone density: Around menopause and then every 5 years after, women only.

Cervical exam: Every three years, women only.

Mammogram: Every year after 50, women only.

Tests You Can Do At Home:

The push-up test is something you can do at home. Depending on your age, you also should be able to do a specific number of push-ups and sit-ups in one minute:

Men between 50 and 59 years old should be able to do 15 to 19 push-ups and 20 to 24 sit-ups. Women of the same age should be able to do seven to 10 push-ups and 15 to 19 sit-ups.

Men between 60 and 69 years old should be able to do 10 to 14 push-ups and 15 to 19 sit-ups. Women of the same age should be able to do five to 10 push-ups and 10 to 14 sit-ups.

Men who are 70 to 79 years old should be able to do six to nine push-ups and 10 to 14 sit-ups, while women in that age range should be able to perform four to 10 push-ups and seven to nine sit-ups.

At 80 to 89 years old, men should be able to do three to five push-ups and six to nine sit-ups, while women of that age should be able to do two to six push-ups and four to six sit-ups.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/months-health-dr-oz-diet-exercise-key-longer/story?id=10535786

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