These days, it seems as though people are continually looking for the next best product, tip, or trick to live longer and healthier. In fact, the average life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last century and continues to do so. According to the NIH National Institute on Aging, “if you make it to the age of 65, the likelihood that you’ll make it to 85 is very high. And if you make it to 85, the likelihood that you’ll make it to 92 is very high.” And while it would be nice to visit the fountain of youth, it turns out that taking simple steps toward living a healthier life may also prolong it. Here are four habits that may help:
Getting regular exercise has been shown to lengthen active life expectancy, or the years of your life free from disease and without mental or physical disability. Studies show that people who exercise vigorously for three hours a week had DNA and cells that were nine years younger than those who do not exercise. Experts recommend working up to 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise for older adults, which could include walking, swimming, jogging, or chair aerobics. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, improves balance and coordination, assists in maintaining optimal weight, and improves mental health, all of which promote longer life.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can positively affects cardiovascular health and is essential in keeping the body in tip-top shape. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can also lower the risk of cognitive decline. “Brain foods” can protect against plaque formation, decreased blood flow, and inflammation, all of which may contribute to cognitive impairment. Eating a variety of healthy and colorful foods that include unsaturated fats, leafy green vegetables, fruits, lean protein, Vitamin C, and Omega-3 fatty acids will fuel the brain, help promote memory retention, and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and depression.
Keep Stress at Bay
Chronic stress has long been linked to many health conditions that may impact life expectancy, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and poor sleep habits. In addition, experiencing high levels of stress can lead to bad habits that may shorten life expectancy, including overeating, smoking, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Experts recommend limiting stress and finding methods to destress, such as meditation, tai chi, and exercising.
Avoiding unnecessary risk may seem like an obvious way to lengthen your life expectancy, but making small changes to achieve this can have a big impact:
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Wear your seat belt
- Drive defensively or familiarize yourself with the signs that it may be time to stop driving
- Lower your risk of falls
- Avoid accidental medication misuse
As Jim Rohn said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Hopefully, by implementing some of these lifestyle changes and habits, you’ll be living in it for many more years to come!