HERE is some good news for expats: moving to Spain could help you live longer.

But terms and conditions apply – and the most important one is that you have to adopt the Spanish lifestyle.

That may be a problem for Brits who like to stick with the full-English breakfast, Sunday roast and a curry on Friday nights. If, on top of all that, your idea of exercise is walking from your car to the bar to watch a football match, your chances of a long and healthy life will be no greater in Marbella than in Manchester.

But if you copy some of the ways of your Spanish neighbours, it could put years on you – in a good way!

A report by the Washington-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has predicted that the Spanish are about to overtake the Japanese as the longest-living people in the world.

They are outliving the average person in Britain by almost three years and the formula is simple and doesn’t involve running, gym workouts or extreme diets. In the words of one British doctor, the secret of Spanish success is more fruit, more walking and more crumpet.

These were the Spanish habits she thought we would all do well to adopt.

1. Take a walk

Not a hike, not a marathon, just a regular stroll. Health experts advise that people should walk for ten minutes or more at least four days a week and the Spanish ‘paseo’ ensures you will do just that. The Spanish are also enthusiastic about walking or cycling to work. In Britain, the weather may hold you back.

But if you’ve made the move here, you have no excuse.

2. Drink more wine

Well, to be honest, that’s not exactly the advice. But a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fish, nuts and fresh vegetables, accompanied by a glass or two of red wine, can do wonders for both your physical and mental health.

“There is little doubt that eating this way is one of the underlying reasons Spanish people are living so long,” said Helen Bond, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

3. Take more naps

The Spanish may be missing out on this one themselves, since the tradition of the siesta seems to be dying. But, in general, the Spanish practice of a lengthy working day punctuated by coffee breaks and a long lunch is thought to be good for well-being.

4. Enjoy your lunch

Britons tend to eat their biggest meal in the evening. A hearty lunch and a smaller evening meal is what the doctor orders.

5. Have more sex

That’s the crumpet reference, for those of you too young to remember Benny Hill. An international survey found that Spanish women had sex an average 2.1 times a week compared with 1.7 times for British women. Spanish men were top of a list of best lovers in a poll of 15,000 women and a survey of dating websites listed Spanish women as ‘the most flirtatious’. As the old Marie Lloyd song had it ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’.

HELPING HAND: Michael Doherty is CEO of the Woodbrook Group

6. Take it easy – let Woodbrook do the work for you

Avoid stress. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change and plan for those you can. The Woodbrook Group can’t help with your diet or your exercise and we’ve nothing at all to say about your crumpet quota. But we can take some of the stress out of the expat life. We are the leading financial advisers for expats. Unlike many financial advisory companies, Woodbrook is not owned by any financial institution or life insurance group, and so can offer you unbiased and impartial advice. Our experienced consultants can help you balance your savings and investments, by setting up a strategic plan which meets your specific needs.

Our expert staff can help you set a plan for getting and keeping your finances in shape – what you do with your body is your own business.

 

*For more information, contact our team at the Woodbrook Group Office in Marbella: Av. Ricardo Soriano, 72 Edificio Golden Portal B, 1ª Planta 29601 Marbella, Málaga, Spain.

Telephone: +34 952768471

Email: [email protected]

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