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Habits for a Longer Life

Most people would prefer to live a long, healthy life. Your genetic makeup plays a role in how long you live, but lifespan is not wholly determined by the genes we inherit. Changing a few things in your routine can help have a big impact on your life.

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Which habits will have the most impact on your health? recommends practicing the following 10 daily habits for optimal health:

  1. Eat a balanced diet. Eat a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
    • Include fatty fish in your diet. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help prevent inflammatory diseases such as heart disease.
    • Limit your salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Sodium consumption should not exceed one teaspoon per day. This will decrease your risk of high blood pressure.
    • Limit your sugar consumption to 12 teaspoons a day. This will reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
    • Fats should make up about 30% of your caloric intake, but unsaturated fats are a healthier choice. Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  2. Stay hydrated. Your goal should be to drink eight glasses of water a day.
  3. Move. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
  4. Sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Sleep is necessary for a strong immune system and good physical and mental health.
  5. Limit alcohol. Men should not have more than two drinks a day, while women should limit alcoholic drinks to one per day.
  6. Don't use tobacco and don't vape. Smoking is the leading cause of lung diseases and raises your risk of many other cancers and heart disease. Chewing tobacco raises your risk of oral cancers. Vaping also can lead to many health problems, even in young people.
  7. Cover up in the sun. Skin is the largest organ in your body. It plays a role that goes far beyond cosmetic appearance. It helps protect your body and plays a crucial role in how the body functions. To protect your skin health, use sunscreen and reapply frequently if you are exposed to the sun for a long time. You can also wear long-sleeved clothing that blocks UV rays. This will help reduce your risk of skin cancers.
  8. Wash your hands frequently. This is one of the most effective ways to avoid infectious diseases. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, when you come into contact with a sick person, or if you have been out in public.
  9. Don't stress out. Find healthy ways to relieve stress, such as going for a walk, listening to music, or taking a hot bath. Confiding in a friend or family member may help readjust your attitude and leave negative thoughts behind. Effectively managing stress can help you avoid a host of health problems, from headaches to heart disease.
  10. Practice safe sex. Remember to always take steps to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

In addition, the following choices can help extend your life:

  • Buckle up when you hit the road. According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, the proper use of a seat belt will cut your risk of death in a crash nearly in half.
  • Get regular preventive care. Many people only schedule a visit to the doctor when they are sick or injured. But receiving routine checkups and recommended vaccinations and screenings can help catch health problems early and help reduce the risk of disabilities and death.

    About 80% of the leading causes of death are either preventable or manageable with regular access to care. These include:
    • Heart disease
    • Cancer
    • Chronic lower respiratory disease
    • Stroke
  • Use proper oral hygiene and see a dentist every year. Studies show that bacteria from periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and cause everything from heart disease to pregnancy problems, or cancer.

Offering health and dental benefits makes a difference

As an employer, one of your most important assets is your workforce. You care about your employees, and you want them to be happy and healthy. Healthy employees are more productive and engaged. And that means they may stay in the workforce longer. One of the best ways you can help retain your employees and keep them healthy and productive is by offering medical and dental benefits.

Many studies have shown that people without health insurance are less likely to receive preventive care. Having health benefits that cover preventive care makes a huge difference. However, a 2021 KFF survey found that only about 32% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees offered health insurance in their benefits package.

Similarly, offering dental benefits can increase the chances your employees will get regular oral care. There are many reasons why people stay away from the dentist office. However, a recent survey by found that cost was a major reason. In addition, a Value Penguin survey found that 65% of people who don't have dental insurance avoided care because of the cost.

Encourage your employees to live a healthy life with Allstate Benefits

Along with your self-funded plan, the Vitality wellness program can help reduce costs for both employees and employers. Vitality educates your employees about health topics and encourages participation in healthy, stress-reducing activities. It encourages healthy habits that can have a permanent impact on your employees' lives. In fact, 90% of members say Vitality has made them more aware of their health. In addition, members who are highly engaged in the Vitality program reduce their claims by up to 19%.

Call your Allstate Benefits – Group Health sales consultant to learn more about how our health, dental and wellness options can help reduce your benefits costs and keep your employees healthier.

The Self-Funded Program through Allstate Benefits provides tools for employers owning small to mid-sized businesses to establish a self-funded health benefit plan for their employees. The benefit plan is established by the employer and is not an insurance product. Allstate Benefits is a marketing name for: Integon National Insurance Company in CT, NY and VT; Integon Indemnity Corporation in FL; and National Health Insurance Company in CO, WA and all other states where offered. For employers in the Allstate Benefits Self-Funded Program, stop loss insurance is underwritten by these insurance companies in the noted states.

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