Want to live to 100 years old and run marathons like Fauja Singh? Fauja Singh has run marathons in places such as India, London, New York and Toronto and has several world records to his name. He has also raised thousands of dollars for various charities while promoting the Sikh culture and religion around the world.
Fauja Singh’s amazing feats are likely attributable to living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a positive outlook, and while most of us cannot run marathons (despite being half or one-quarter his age!) we may still be able to make into our 90s or beyond.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation outlines 7 strategies to living a long, healthy life. By following these strategies, we not only can increase our lifespan, but we can reduce our chances of getting heart disease, cancer and other life-shortening health ailments.
1. Get active: The Heart and Stroke Foundation indicates that people who are inactive end up shaving nearly four years off their expected lifespans. If Fauja Singh isn’t a great example of what being active can do, I don’t know what is!
2. Follow A Healthy Diet: Fauja Singh is a strict vegetarian, who eats a simple diet consisting of roti, dal, vegetables, yoghurt and milk. He does not eat fried foods. Again, we all don’t have to eat as well as Fauja Singh, but we can try to eat as many healthy food items as possible on a daily basis.
3. Find out what your cholesterol level is, and then learn ways to control these levels: High blood cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in your arteries − this in turn increases your risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
4. Manage diabetes: In less than five years, it is estimated that 2.4 million Canadians will be living with diabetes. By not controlling blood sugar levels, the arteries can narrow, high blood pressure can increase, and if, it continues uncontrolled, it can lead to coronary artery disease and stroke.
5. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight: Being obese can reduce your life span by almost four years.
6. Control blood pressure: One in five Canadians have high blood pressure. It’s considered a ‘silent killer,’ because it has no warning signs or symptoms. By knowing and controlling your blood pressure, the risk of having a stroke can decrease by 40 per cent and the risk of a heart attack can decrease by up to 25 per cent.
7. Be tobacco free: More than 37,000 Canadians die prematurely each year due to tobacco use, and thousands of non-smokers die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke. As soon as you become smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease. After 15 years, your risk will be nearly that of a non-smoker.
For those of you that think all of the above is impossible, just remember the words of Fauja Singh after he completed a marathon in Glasgow, Scotland: “If I can do it, anyone can do it!”