Skip to main content

Build a lifetime of healthy habits.

By Jeanne K. Laktash

Looking for some ways to live a longer, healthier life? Maybe you’ve already nailed all the usual ones, like exercising and eating right. If so, move beyond those and try these out-of-the-box ideas. They might just help you reach that milestone birthday.

Photo illustration featuring a field of flowers, healthy desert and a young man assisting an elderly woman.

  1. Get outside. A little time outdoors each day is good for you, even if it’s rainy or snowy. Breathing in some fresh air and feeling that sunlight on your face benefits you in more ways than one. Spending a few minutes outside:
  • Boosts mood
  • Delivers a healthy dose of Vitamin D
  • Improves sleep

Walk your dog in the morning or embark on a weekend hike — there’s no prescription needed for a dose of nature.

  1. Sip some caffeine. Drinking caffeine amps up your energy. But did you know it’s been linked to longevity, too? Fill your favorite mug with a flavorful French roast for an antioxidant boost. If coffee’s not your thing, sip a cup of black tea or hot chocolate for your caffeine fix.
  1. Check your gut health. Want to add more candles to your birthday cake? Get some help from bacteria — good bacteria, that is. For a healthier gut, chow down on probiotic-rich foods like: 
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Yogurt
  1. Treat yourself. Occasional indulgences are important. Whether that’s having a cocktail, enjoying a plate of pasta carbonara or getting a massage, taking care of yourself is essential. Rewarding yourself once in a while can reduce stress and lower your blood pressure.
  1. Be kind. Doing nice things for others feels good. A bonus: It boosts your health. It could be as simple as holding a door open for a stranger, letting another car in ahead of you or donating blood. These small acts of kindness help foster personal connection and improve your well-being, which can add years to your life — and life to your years.
  1. Laugh. You’ve probably heard the old saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” But it’s more than just an old wives’ tale. Laughing can really benefit your health. Just a few minutes of laughter a day:
  • Releases endorphins
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Increases blood flow to your internal organs

Besides improving your physical health, laughter benefits your mental and emotional well-being. And it can help you cope with the stresses of everyday life.


The wellness you need, in a style you’ll love — delivered.

Sign up to have PA Health sent to your mailbox or inbox 4 times a year, for free.

An exuberant elderly woman celebrates her 100th birthday.

No matter your age, it’s never too late (or early) to adopt healthier habits. If you’re wondering where to begin, start small. Pick one change and stick with it. Over time, add in more changes to feel your best. 

And who knows? You may need to start buying more birthday candles.