This week I’ve been watching the BBC One programme, How to Stay Young. The programme began with a physical test you can do to get an estimate of how long you will live – you have to sit down on the floor and get up again. Each time you touch the floor, with a knee, elbow etc, you lose one of an initial ten points. The test can be used to predict when you might die. The programme went on to explore various ways to reduce your ‘body age’, the health of your physical body: dancing, a vegetarian/vegan diet, reducing stress and a positive attitude are all suggested as ways to improve longevity.
None of these things seems like a particularly onerous task, so is it such a struggle to take the simple steps that we all know will make us healthier? Instead of taking the time to cycle to work, dancing with our children and cooking simple and wholesome food, we rush around, cramming in more and more activities; shopping trips, cinema visits, meals out…
Many changes that are truly better for our well-being as an individual end up being better for society and better for our planet:
- Cutting your meat intake is better for your body, for animal welfare and cuts down on deforestation, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reducing your car use means more exercise, improves local social interaction and burns less fossil fuel.
- Buying fewer things is better for our pockets, means we do less housework to take care of our possessions and means we throw away less.
The list goes on.
The fast pace of life can be fun and entertaining, but do we need to slow down a little? What if we chose to spend more time at home with friends or family? Chose to stop loading on stress by chasing the promotion and enjoy the job we have? Chose to walk, listening to birdsong and spotting the spring flowers instead of whizzing past in the car? Chose to swap the meat-heavy takeaway for a simple homemade lentil soup?
What choice could you make today that can help the bigger picture?