Live Longer and Healthier with These Seven Smart and Easy Strategies
Most of us hope to live a long, happy life.
Fortunately, the last decade has ushered in a wealth of information about the biology of aging. While the Fountain of Youth may still only exist in legends, the possibility of living longer and better has become a reality. But the key to longevity isn’t a magical elixir—it lies in developing healthy habits.
Here are seven science-backed tips to help you live a longer, healthier life.
Regularly engage in physical activity
Inactivity directly causes approximately 10% of all premature deaths from chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers. It should come as no surprise that staying physically active can add healthy years to your life. As few as 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, every day can deliver these benefits, according to data published in The Lancet. Exercising 150 minutes or more per week is ideal, but even small amounts can help. Not only does exercise improve strength and fitness, but it has also been shown to reduce harmful inflammation and improve mood.
Load up on healthy plant-based foods
Consuming a wide variety of plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans may decrease the risk of disease and promote longevity. Many studies link a plant-rich diet to a lower risk of premature death, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, depression, and brain deterioration. These benefits are attributed to plant foods’ density of important nutrients and antioxidants, which include polyphenols, carotenoids, folate, and vitamin C, among others.
Embrace lifelong learning
Reading is an enjoyable way to stimulate your mind, and it may actually help you live longer, according to 2016 research from Social Science and Medicine, which studied readers and non-readers for a decade. Individuals who read books for three hours or more per week were 17% less likely to pass away than non-readers. Lifelong learning does not have to be taken in the traditional sense; it can take place outside of the classroom. What’s important is to stretch your mind and expand your growth experiences. Try your hand at an instrument, learn another language, or pick up a new hobby.
Drink more water
One of the most essential parts of a healthy diet is consuming enough water. Drink an 8-ounce glass before every meal to help you feel fuller so you can make smart food choices. Drinking more water throughout the day can prevent obesity by reducing your sugar, fat, and calorie intake. It also protects the kidneys, lubricates the joints, and improves circulation.
While stress is an unavoidable part of life, elevated anxiety and worry can have a significant toll on the body and disrupt its processes. Research suggests that chronic stress can increase the risk of depression, anxiety disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, and obesity, as well as shorten life expectancy. There are many ways to manage stress and protect your mental health, such as journaling, yoga, meditation, group therapy, and more.
Get enough sleep
A regular sleep schedule is crucial to the body’s overall functioning. Many studies have shown that inadequate sleep is linked to serious health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and obesity—all of which contribute to a shorter lifespan. Too much sleep can also be bad for your health, as it has been associated with a greater risk of stroke and heart disease. To improve your longevity, hit the hay at about the same time each night and aim for 7 to 8 hours of quality slumber.
Learn to forgive and ask for forgiveness
If you experience prolonged stress due to resentment or an old conflict, that negativity is held in the body and mind. It sets you up for a variety of health conditions like heart disease, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and others. If you’re angry with a friend or loved one, be honest with them so you can reconcile. If you are the guilty party, it’s never too late to ask for forgiveness.
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