updated 9/16/2010 6:16:24 AM ET 2010-09-16T10:16:24

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 16, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Recent studies have revealed that there is a powerful formula for staying youthful and healthy. That formula cannot be packaged in a prescription drug, and it cannot be found in a vitamin pill or a tonic. What's in this magic formula? The main ingredient in this powerful formula is YOU. Research shows that if you take one committed adult, add in a daily dose of exercise, stir in a generous amount of fresh, whole foods, and sprinkle in a routine number of health checkups, you have a formula that will keep you healthy and youthful well into your 80s and 90s.

If you don't already subscribe to a healthy aging formula, wellness company Healthyroads suggests that you design your own personal formula using these five "ingredients" as the foundation.

Five Ingredients to Get You Started on Your Healthy Aging Formula

1. Get Moving!

You've seen the reports and studies. Physical activity can reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive impairment. Yet more than one-third of all adults do not meet even the basic exercise recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every week and strength training on two or more days a week. What are you waiting for? Get moving! Hop out of your easy chair and take a spin around the block. Get out in the garden and pull a few weeds, rake a few leaves, or prune the hedge. Go out dancing or bowling with friends. Make a personal commitment today to exercise for fun and good health.

2. Get a "Whole" New Approach to Eating

Whole foods, including fresh fruits, veggies, and grains, are a vital part of the formula for a healthier life. Eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day, plus 100 percent whole grain foods like oatmeal and brown rice, assures that you get the vital nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. When you substitute whole foods for sugary, salty, or over-processed and packaged foods, you can reap huge health benefits, including better weight management, and improved cholesterol and blood pressure control.

3. Get Appropriate Preventive Checkups

According to the CDC, the following health services are particularly effective in preventing serious illnesses in older adults: screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, and vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal disease. Yet, only 25 percent of U.S. adults aged 50 to 64 and fewer than 40 percent of older adults are up to date on these services – even though most are fully covered by insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. It doesn't hurt to get regular blood work and cardiovascular health screenings either. Make your appointments right now, while you are thinking about it.

4. Get Involved in Your Company's Wellness Plan

Fifty-eight percent of businesses offer health improvement programs that provide free or low cost support services to employees, such as free health coaches, weight management and stop smoking programs, and health risk appraisals. Many also offer custom-designed exercise and nutrition support for individuals, as well as group health activities, such as employee step contests, or fruit and veggie challenges. For employees who get involved, these programs can be life changing, mentoring individuals to help them set and reach healthy living goals. For example, the Healthyroads® telephone health coaching program has been shown to help over 88 percent of coaching participants make a measurable and sustainable health improvement within the first 12 month, including improved fitness, weight loss and reduction of health risks. Find out about your employer's wellness plan, then take advantage of all that it offers.

5. Get a Life!

According to Robert Butler, who shaped the national aging policy in the U.S. as the first director of the National Institute on Aging and the founder of the International Longevity Center, studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the 1950s and 60s found that people who have something purposeful in life – "something to get up for in the morning" – tend to live longer and better. Find your purpose, set your goals, and have a longer, healthier life.

With a little experimentation, you can find the most appropriate ingredients to include in your healthy aging formula. Talk with your doctor, your health plan, and your health coach. Together you'll find a formula for success.

About American Specialty Health

American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) is a national health and wellness company that provides health improvement programs, specialty network management programs, and fitness and exercise services to health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups, and trust funds. Based in San Diego, ASH has more than 700 employees and covers over 17.9 million members.

Healthyroads, Inc. is the health improvement subsidiary of ASH and offers a wide range of personal health solutions—including award-winning telephone-based personal health coaching programs, member engagement promotion programs, incentive management programs, competitive challenges, worksite wellness programs and an integrated online health improvement portal, Healthyroads.com.

ASH has been named among the 100 "Best Places to Work in Healthcare" by Modern Healthcare magazine, one of America's 15 Fittest Companies by Men's Fitness magazine, a National Business Group on Health Gold "Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles" award winner, and a California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness Fit Company. For more information about ASH health and wellness programs, visit ASH online at www.ASHCompanies.com or call 800.848.3555. ASH and Healthyroads are also on Twitter at Twitter.com/ASHCompanies and Twitter.com/Healthyroads.

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