By Wieske Sevilla, MD from Sickness or Health – As a health conscious person I’m sure you are already eating your fruits and veggies, looking after your waistline and exercising regularly. You do everything you can to be fit and energetic so you can keep up with your demanding life. We all know that this takes enormous effort and willpower and might cause some stress, frustration, feelings of guilt and falling off the wagon once in a while.

Did you know that it doesn’t have to be this way? Scientific research shows that there are more important and effective things you can do to be healthy than just watching your diet and exercise. And did you know that those things are fun, easy and entertaining?

The following 5 tips will improve your health and fun in life:

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1. Spend time with friends

Spending quality time with friends and family regularly lowers stress, increases happiness and improves your health. Research shows that people who engage in social activities daily have half the risk of heart disease, cancer and early death compared with people who don’t. Even when they don’t eat healthy and exercise less. Other research shows that loneliness is devastating to your health and that it’s worse than smoking. Frequent, meaningful social contact can add at least 2 years to your life. So make time every week to invite your friends and family for dinner, outings, board games, wine tasting or whatever you like to enjoy their company and a longer, healthier life.

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2. Hook up

Getting married or living together with a partner increases your health and also your life expectancy. People that are happily married or living together have lower blood pressure, sleep better and live longer than people who stay single. But beware: staying in a toxic, unhappy relationship has the opposite effect and may even cause illness. Studies show that you are better off alone than staying in such a relationship.

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3. Have sex

Having healthy, safe sex is good for your health. Many people are burdened by the bad name sex still has and aren’t aware that besides the fact that it’s a fun thing to enjoy it is also a great (preventive) medicine. People who have a healthy sex life live longer, have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, sleep better, are fitter, have fewer migraines and depressions, experience less chronic pain and appear younger. So don’t put off sex until the weekend but enjoy it freely and safely as often as you like.

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4. Take regular vacations

Doesn’t this sound too good to be true? Taking a vacation is good for your health? Really it is! Research shows that failure to take at least one vacation a year is associated with an increased chance of an early death and an increased risk of heart disease. So take action and book your next vacation as soon as you can. Start having a good time and enjoy a better health.

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5. Be creative

Being creative means expressing yourself. It is thinking and acting in original ways, to be inventive and imaginative doing something you love. Being creative can vary from writing, playing an instrument, baking, cooking, singing, dancing, brain storming, gardening, playing with your child, problem solving, making jewelry, painting your house or anything you can think of that is meaningful to you and generates positive feelings.

This in turn causes you to relax and have less stress; it decreases your chances of disability and Alzheimer’s disease. It reduces anxiety and improves self-esteem and overall health. So did you always want to learn how to dance tango? How to play the guitar? Are you putting off starting a blog or writing a book? Stop procrastinating and start doing. Now’s the time to start: enjoy yourself and a better health.

For more health, relaxation and wellness tips visit sicknessorhealth.com. Click here for more information on the author Wieske Sevilla.