LONGEVITY and indeed a life well led is often as much to do with how you look after yourself as it is being blessed with good genes. No one can predict the future, but by remembering a few important numbers, you may go a long way to keeping yourself healthy and hopefully happy too.

Below I share agreed advice on some important figures you should keep in mind.

l Eight

The average number of hours you need per night. While the occasional late night is acceptable once in a while, regular sleep deprivation will result in more than just bags under your eyes and feeling irritable.

Just one night of poor rest will cause disturbance to your blood sugars. Long term sleep loss is linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. You should aim to get to bed at a reasonably regular hour, and if you have good quality rest, you should wake naturally, before your alarm prompts you.

l Thirty

The number of minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise recommended per day. It doesn’t have to be regimented exercise in a formal setting such as a gym. Walking is an excellent way of maintain cardiovascular fitness, bone mineral density, improve balance and also see the world around you.

You should also try to get in some strength or resistance training at least twice a week to keep up your muscle mass.

l 140/90

The upper limits of healthy blood pressure. For those with diabetes these numbers are 135/85. The top number or systolic is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, the lower number the same pressure when the heart relaxes.

Long term high or even borderline blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease and strokes.

I would advise anyone with diagnosed high blood pressure on medication to buy a home monitor and to have it regularly calibrated.

l Five

The top figure recommended for a healthy cholesterol. This number is reduced to four for those on cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins.

Cholesterol is made up of HDL “good” molecules which take fat from the arteries and stores it in the liver and LDL “bad” molecules which do the opposite. Your overall risk of heart attack or stroke are based not only on these numbers but also blood pressure and Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as age, gender and smoking history.

You won’t automatically end up on a statin if your cholesterol is high, so please don’t let that worry prevent you from getting it checked.

l 19-25

A healthy body mass index (BMI) lies between these two units. BMI, although not isolation, is a reflection of general health.

Being underweight can be as harmful as the opposite end of the spectrum. While many may point out that muscle is denser than fat and hence BMI is not applicable to those who are highly muscled, it must be remembered that the weight you carry, irrespective of whether it is muscle or fat, is the weight which your heart, blood vessels and also joints have to cope with.

There are many simple online calculators to arrive at your BMI. All you need is your height and weight.

l 14

The maximum recommended units of alcohol per week. This is down from the previously recommended 21 units. Ideally these should be spaced over the week, with no more than 2-3 units for women and 3-4 units for men consumed during any one day. You should have several alcohol-free days.

However, there is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol and even one unit a day consumed regularly can increase the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.

l 20-20-20

Every twenty minutes look away from the screen at something twenty feet away, for twenty seconds. This is the recommendation for those using Visual Display Units.

In an era of increasing use of remote technology and online meetings, spurred on in part by the pandemic, many of us are spending eight and even more hours per day at a computer.

Not only is the use of computers one of the leading causes of eye strain, migraine and poor posture with resultant joint complaints, it is also responsible for a significant deterioration in our vision, which may progress to long term sight conditions including glaucoma, retinal detachment and even blindness.

l Two

Please have an eye test every two years at maximum. We often take our senses for granted, only seeking help when something significant happens.

An eye test is often brief, painless and not only detects any deterioration in your vision, but is also able to pick up the early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and even a brain tumour.

For those requiring contact lenses, glasses or with an existing eye condition you may be required to attend more regularly than every two years.

l Two

The number of litres of water you should drink a day. Although this may seem like a large amount, having a glass of water by you throughout the day will help you achieve this.

Dehydration is associated with not only feeling unwell, lack of concentration and poor performance, but also increased chance of urinary tract infections (UTI), kidney stones and kidney disease.

Your urine should ideally be straw coloured and if you feel dry, this is your body telling you to drink more.

Remember that coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks and alcohol are diuretics so may make you lose more water than the volume you put in.

Although this list is far from exhaustive, these numbers if incorporated into your daily life, may have you feeling your best self.

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