May 3, 2010— -- With the demands of work, family, and other activities, it's often difficult for people to find the time to exercise and eat right.
Don't make excuses. Dr. Mehmet Oz, physician, talk show host and author, writes in this month's issue of AARP The Magazine that poor diet and lack of exercise can be more harmful than a disease.
As people age, it's more important than ever -- and never too late -- to start following a better lifestyle.
In an appearance today on "Good Morning America," Oz shared six easy steps that you can follow to be more healthy and live longer.
Adults of any age may follow these steps:
Eating fewer calories actually increases the body's efficiency. That's because eating a little less each day will improve cells' effectiveness, enhancing the body's ability to repair itself and thereby increasing longevity, Oz said.
Oz also advised that people eat regular meals throughout the day. Eating that way stabilizes the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates the appetite.
People pay a lot of attention to the numbers on their scale, but Oz said there many other critical numbers to which people should pay increased attention.
Oz said people should also know their blood pressure, levels of cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and of TSH, the hormone secreted by the thyroid, waist size, and vitamin D blood level.
Here are the optimum levels of the numbers you should know:
Step Three: Exercise More
At the very least, people should be walking 30 minutes a day, Oz said. Once you're comfortable with that -- and have checked with your doctor -- you can add weight-bearing, flexibility and balance exercises to your routine.
Depending on your age, you also should be able to do a specific number of push-ups and sit-ups in one minute. Here is a guide:
Want to know more? Click HERE for a list of medical tests you should have.
Chronic stress -- such as that caused by a micro-managing boss or a troubled teen -- can put your body into long-term hyper-alert, lowering your immunity and making you susceptible to illness, Oz said.
Stress is also caused by unresolved problems, which Oz refers to as NUTS -- for Nagging, Unfinished Tasks. Identify the "Nuts" in your life so they don't become a constant source of anxiety, Oz said.
Ask yourself if there's an untapped passion you have, and figure out what obstacles stand in your way. Once you've done that, Oz advises that you try to get around those obstacles so you can pursue your passion.
The key to success is to incorporate all the steps into your daily routine, Oz said.
Web Extra: Medical Tests You Need
The push-up test is something you can do at home. Depending on your age, you also should be able to do a specific number of push-ups and sit-ups in one minute: