Extend Your Life by Making These Seven Simple Changes
Research has shown that people who stick to healthy habits as an adult can add more than a decade to their lives.
Diet, sleep, exercise, stopping smoking, drinking in moderation, mindfulness and social integration are amongst a plethora of ways that people can increase their life expectancy.
Poor lifestyle is a major factor that cuts lives short, with researchers at Harvard University reporting that adults who lead healthy lives were 82% less likely to die of heart disease and 65% less likely to die of cancer compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles.
People often get stuck in a rut and think it’s too late to change their ways, but with a little self-belief and motivation it is possible to achieve remarkable benefits.
Read on as we look at how you could extend your life by making these seven simple changes.
If you’re not currently a fitness fanatic it is highly likely that there are significant changes you could make to your diet to improve your life expectancy.
Studies have shown that a healthy diet can help you avoid ailments that affect people more as they age, including heart disease, cancer and cataracts.
Eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting back on processed foods is a great place to start and can have major benefits to your health and wellbeing.
Avoid consuming trans fats, limit saturated fats, keep total fat intake to 20% to 30% of daily calories and choose carbohydrates and proteins wisely.
If you are trying to lose weight, make sure you have a support network in place. Consult your doctor and use the services of a nutritionist or personal trainer. Set a reasonable goal and take small steps that make success more likely.
Trimming up to 10% of your starting weight is a realistic goal with excellent health benefits, including reducing cholesterol levels, blood pressure and lowering the risk for diabetes.
Getting an optimum amount of sleep provides people with the perfect base to tackle the challenges presented to them by everyday life.
Creating a sleep schedule is a great idea, helping to focus the mind that resting is a key component towards health and wellbeing.
Research has shown that keeping fit, relaxing before bedtime and barring electronic devices from the bedroom will improve your sleep.
People spend around a third of each day in bed, so it makes plenty of sense to find the best mattresses online and invest resources into making your sleep as comfortable, relaxing and productive as possible.
If your struggle to get enough rest, check out the wide range of sleep technologies on the market. There are hundreds of products available designed to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Many people die early from smoking related illnesses every year, so making a concerted effort to give up the habit makes perfect sense if you want to live longer.
As with any addiction, giving up smoking is not easy but there are things you can implement into your lifestyle to increase your chances of achieving your goal.
Try to avoid putting yourself in situations where other people are smoking and have a plan in place to manage any cravings that may arise.
Make your friends and family fully aware of what you’re trying to achieve and encourage them to help you along the way.
Consult with your doctor if you’re planning on giving up smoking as you will need support to handle some of the side effects of quitting.
Keep in mind throughout the process that stopping smoking will improve your chances of living a healthier and longer life.
Get regular exercise
Exercise plays a key role in keeping people both physically and mentally fit. When you exercise regularly, you may feel more confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
Activities such as cycling, jogging and walking are great ways to improve your fitness as they involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups.
Fitness experts recommend 60 to 90 minutes a day of moderate activity which can be done in one daily session or shorter bouts at least 10 minutes long.
Studies have shown that combining aerobic exercise with resistance training can maximise fat loss and muscle mass maintenance, which is essential for keeping weight off.
Regular physical activity can increase the production of hormones that make you feel happier and help you sleep better.
It can also improve your skin’s appearance, help you lose weight and keep it off, lessen the risk of chronic disease and improve your sex life.
Meditate your way to a longer life
Meditation helps people improve awareness and compassion – it trains the mind to stop being easily distracted and become more focused in the present moment.
To start meditating decide on a time and place that works for you. It is likely to work better for you if you create a daily culture of ‘same time, same place’ for your meditation.
Start with a manageable amount of time, perhaps 10 minutes, before building up to a level that suits your personal needs.
Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill – it is similar to exercising a muscle that you’ve never really worked out before.
It takes consistent practice to get comfortable with meditation and many people never truly master the art, often allowing their mind to wander.
However, what is more important is to keep meditating consistently. It takes time to get truly comfortable with the power of the mind, but persevere and the rewards will be worth it.
Drink in moderation
A 2018 study by researchers at Cambridge University says that current advice relating to safe amounts of alcohol intake per week could be knocking years of people’s lifespan.
The American Heart Association and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both say that men can safely drink up to two alcoholic drinks a day and women up to a drink a day.
However, the study into the drinking habits of 600,000 people in 19 countries showed that this advice could be misguided.
The researchers found that the most people could drink and not increase their risk of early death was about five glasses of wine per week.
People who drank more had much higher rates of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and fatal aortic aneurysms.
Many experts believe that social integration is a key component to enjoying a happy, healthy and long life.
Leading psychologist, Susan Pinker, uses the example of the Italian island of Sardinia, which has ten times as many centenarians as North America.
She believes that their emphasis on village life, close personal relationships, face-to-face interactions and avoidance of digital devices helps them to live longer.
Modern society has created a culture where we have much less personal integration than was previously the case and Pinker believes that has a negative impact on life expectancy.
In her book ‘The Village Effect’, Pinker says that tight bonds of friendship and love can heal us, help children learn, extend our lives and make us happy.
She writes: “Neglecting to keep in close contact with people who are important to you is at least as dangerous to your health as a pack-a-day cigarette habit, hypertension or obesity.”
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that you can extend your life by making simple changes to your lifestyle.
Research has shown that healthy living can even reverse the telltale signs of ageing in your cells. This relates to telomeres, the caps that protect the tips of chromosomes when cells divide.
With each cell division these get shorter, so as we age they wear away like a candle wick burning down. Now there is evidence that telomeres can regrow if people switch to, and maintain, a healthy lifestyle.
With that in mind, implementing a few changes to the way you live your life makes perfect sense – make a start today!