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Secrets To A Longer Life

February 19, 2013, 6:22 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Secrets To A Longer Life

It's an age-old question: what can you do to live longer?

Most of us know we should eat healthy and exercise, but there are many other health habits that could improve the quality and quantity of your life.

78-year-old Shirley Reilly not only works out five days a week, she also leads exercise classes at Active Generations.  This summer, she went skydiving. Her goal?

"To keep active--body, mind and spirit," Reilly said.

Reilly has no plans of slowing down. She says being social and having a positive attitude have also helped her.

"I look at it this way. If I get up in the morning and can get up and move around, then I'm on the right side of the grass," Reilly said.

"I see a lot of stress, and I think it's getting more and more that I'm seeing patients with higher amounts of stress," Avera Dr. Janell Powell said.

Powell says managing that stress can help you live longer.

"It's very important to try to control your stress, but I also realize it's difficult to do.  And that's where I'll come in with really trying to encourage them to exercise," Powell said.

Some other ways Powell says you can lengthen your life include drinking six to eight glasses of water a day and sleeping seven to eight hours a night.

"Sleeping less, you're going to tend to not be as well rested, which can in turn affect your mental capacity. You're going to tend to not handle stress as well," Powell said.

But Powell says the biggest difference can come from getting in a workout five to six days a week.

"Exercise is very important as far as maintaining muscle mass and decreasing fat gain," Powell said. {6 seconds}

Reilly is a firm believer in exercise. She also thinks it's important to set goals. Her next goal is to stay in shape to hang glide this summer.

"Do something new.  Read a new book, try a new exercise or go on a trip or jump out of an airplane," Reilly said.

Powell also says smoking and drinking too much can also take years off your life.

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