Want to live to 100? By making a few simple changes to your lifestyle you could boost your chances of reaching this milestone. Here are 10 ways to increase your lifespan and improve your quality of life at the same time.
Eat foods that boost your lifespan
If you want to increase your life expectancy, try eating nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables and plenty of oily fish. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout, are a good source of vitamins A and D, which are good for the immune system, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease and stroke. For a tasty way to increase your life expectancy, you could also try snacking on antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, which can lower your risk of heart disease. Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived a grand total of 122 years and 164 days, put her good health in part down to her regular chocolate consumption.
Learn how to deal with stress
Stress affects just about every aspect of our health. As well as its mental and emotional implications, stress can contribute to high blood pressure and weight gain, and a study by Pennsylvania State University researchers has found that how you deal with stress can affect your health up to 10 years later. To stay healthy into old age, try to find effective ways to deal with stress, such as exercise, meditation and using relaxing essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and bergamot.
Think yourself young
While ageing is an inevitable part of life, research by psychologist Ellen Langer has demonstrated that it may be possible to think yourself younger. Her ground-breaking experiment found that when elderly participants were treated as physically capable and encouraged to think of themselves in this way, their bodies actually followed suit, with tests showing remarkable improvement in many areas, including dexterity, speed of movement, memory, arthritis and blood pressure. Try to adopt a younger, more positive mindset to stay physically and mentally younger for longer.
Become a volunteer
Not only is volunteering good for boosting your emotional wellbeing and creating social bonds, research results published in the journal Health Psychology have also found that taking on voluntary work could help you to live longer. However, the study revealed that your motives need to be right in order to reap the rewards, as people who volunteered in order to help others – rather than for their own personal satisfaction – were found to live longer than those who didn’t.
Smoking is one of the world’s biggest killers and is a cause of many chronic and life-threatening diseases, including cancer and heart disease. In fact, statistics show that approximately every six seconds, someone dies due to tobacco. To increase your life expectancy and quality of life, try to quit smoking now. The good news is, experts have found that the risk of having a heart attack decreases within just 24 hours of quitting smoking.
Hands up if you’re guilty of sitting down at a desk or in front of a television screen for several hours each day! The truth is, most of us spend far too long sat in front of a screen and not nearly enough hours on our feet. However, researchers from the University of Queensland have found that for every hour you watch TV you may shorten your life by as much 22 minutes! To increase your health and life expectancy, try heading out for a walk after your evening meal rather than settling down for a TV marathon. Research results published in the journal PLoS Medicine indicate that walking a total of just two and a half hours a week could add more than seven years to your life.
Have regular health checks
Many of us have a head-in-the-sand approach to our health and are guilty of ignoring symptoms we should really get checked out. However, it is never worth taking a chance on your health. Look after your body and help to extend your life expectancy by visiting your doctor about any concerns you may have and making time for regular health checks such as cervical smear tests for women and blood pressure checks. Men should also make sure they regularly check themselves for signs of testicular cancer, while women should check their breasts for signs of breast cancer.
One of the most fun ways to make it to 100 is to work more laughter into your life. Studies have found a multitude of ways in which laughter boosts your health, including lowering blood pressure levels, reducing bad cholesterol, enhancing the immune system and helping blood vessels to function better. A study in Norway also found that those who laughed most often in everyday life were 35 per cent less likely to die during the study period.
Get more sleep
The powers of a good night’s sleep are often underestimated; however, getting enough sleep is essential for good health. Researchers have found that the hormonal changes resulting from a lack of sleep trigger changes in the body similar to ageing, meaning that ongoing sleep deprivation could exacerbate age-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Lack of sleep can also increase stress levels, which is bad news for our health. To boost your wellbeing, try to make sleep a priority and adopt good sleeping habits; going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
Improve your social life
If you want to live to 100, it’s worth taking some time to nurture your friendships. Research suggests that having regular contact with your friends can help you to live longer by reducing feelings of depression, stress and risky behaviour, and encouraging you to look after your health. In fact, a study by Brigham Young University found that having few friends affects your longevity as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Bonding with your co-workers is also a good idea, as research by Tel Aviv University found that having social support from colleagues reduced participants’ risk of death from any cause over the 20 year study period.
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