Who wouldn’t want to extend their life if they had the power to do so? Well, according to clinicians who study life expectancy, there are little things you can do that can improve your health and mental state as you age. Here are a few changes you can make and incorporate into your daily life that can actually help you live longer:
- Exercise. People who exercise for at least three hours a week or a little more than 30 minutes a day can positively affect your life in so many ways. First of all, exercise raises healthy HDL cholesterol levels and reduces unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also lowers blood pressure, burns body fat, and lowers blood sugar levels — all of which benefit heart health. Exercise helps reduce your risk of stroke by keeping your blood vessels healthy. Scientists say that staying active may help ward off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Physical activity can also help reduce certain cancer risks. Weight-bearing exercise can help slow bone loss. If you have knee pain, regular exercise can help keep those aches away via weight control.
2. Take in more vitamin D. As you age vitamin D becomes so vital to the body. People over age 50 have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and the risk increases with age. Deficiency in vitamin D may lead to osteoporosis, muscle weakness, hip fractures, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and just overall poor health, especially in older folks. Since there are limited foods that contain vitamin D, make sure you absorb enough of it from the selections that do contain it like salmon, cod liver oil, mackerel, tuna, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Exposing yourself to sunlight every single day is also the best way to get your vitamin D fix. Sunlight converts cholesterol to vitamin D in the body.
3. Floss daily. A study came out a few years ago that stated how flossing can add 6.4 years to your life expectancy. Flossing helps keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Gum disease can contribute to inflammation in your arteries that can lead to heart disease. Getting rid of the bacteria in your mouth will help keep your body healthy. Unfortunately, according to a CDC study, a whopping 40 percent of African-Americans say they never flossed!
4. Schedule regular medical screenings. Making sure you stick to a regular schedule of medical screenings will extend your life because these procedures can help catch diseases or illnesses early. When certain conditions are caught early they are more likely to be treatable. Speak with your physician about what tests you’ll need and how often.
5. Turn off your TV. Tv watchers tend to be more sedentary and are not as active. Watching TV makes you eat more junk food. It also keeps you from getting out and socializing with folks. People who barely budge from their set also tend to be more stressed because of the news shows that can add to your feeling of pessimism about the world. Researchers state that on average folks watch about four hours of TV a day which is way too much time devoted to doing nothing!
6. Stop smoking! How many times have you heard the warning of how cigarettes are just plain bad for your health? Simply put, smoking shortens life expectancy by up to 14 years.
7. Have more sex! Sex is good for your health as long as it is not risky sex. In one study, men who had lots of orgasms showed a 50% reduction in mortality! Sex triggers all kinds of good stuff in your body like endorphins and hormones that relax and make you feel good.
8. Socialize. Connecting with folks on a regular basis will benefit your mental state and lower your risk of dementia. Socializing improves your immune system so that you can better fight off colds, flu, and even some forms of cancer. Talking with folks and sharing good times also helps combat depression.
According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, both social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk of mortality in adults aged 52 and older. One possible explanation: “People who live alone or lack social contacts may be at increased risk of death if acute symptoms develop because there is less of a network of confidantes to prompt medical attention.” Efforts to reduce isolation are the key to addressing the issue of mortality, said the study’s authors.
9. Visit a house of worship. A Vanderbilt University study found that older folks who regularly attended a church, mosque, synagogue, or any other place of worship reduced mortality by about 55%. Amen!
10. Drink 5 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Scientists at Loma Linda University found that men who drank this amount of H2O were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or less every day.
11. Laugh more. Yes, laughter is the best medicine! Various studies have shown that laughter has positive psychological effects. For example, laughter appears to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Laughter also helps to relieve anxiety and improve mood. Several studies have shown that laughter helps lessen pain. A good hearty bout of laughter will have us moving our muscles, while our pulse and blood pressure rise and increase blood flow. We also begin to breathe faster, which increases the level of oxygen in our blood. Some experts believe that laughing provides the body with a mild workout. Studies have shown that 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn 50 or more calories.
12. Take a daily nap. Napping for at least 30 minutes a day can actually cut your heart attack risk by at least 30% according to some research from the Harvard School of Public Health. Clinicians summarized that a short snooze every single day reduces stress hormones in the body. Make sure, however, to get your sleep on at night too! At least seven hours of shut-eye per night will keep your body in tune because when you sleep your body repairs and regenerates its tissues and your immunity gets stronger as well.