Some very simple lifestyle changes can help you improve your chances of living longer. According to doctors, even implementing 5 will make a huge difference.
The average life expectancy in America is 78.6 years. However, that is much shorter than in all other high-income countries. According to a recent study, adopting some healthy habits can increase your life expectancy by over a decade.
These are the 7 things you can do to increase your life expectancy.
1. Spend more time outdoors
Exposure to sunlight helps your body produce more vitamin D. It is one of the cheapest ways to improve your health and your chances of living longer. Glass filters out sunlight, so the best way to replenish vitamin D levels is to be outdoors for at least 15 minutes a day.
Vitamin D is a prohormone, and it is essential for bone health. It also helps fight depression and decreases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
2. Be more active
Three hours of exercise a week or 30 minutes a day, is enough to ensure that your DNA cells are younger than those people who are couch potatoes. The exercise doesn’t need to be vigorous but can be of moderate intensity. If you prefer vigorous aerobic activity, then 75 minutes a week is also enough.
If you prefer, you can combine the two or add some muscle-building activity into the mix. Walking, tennis, cycling, dancing, and swimming are all great forms of exercise which you can do with friends. You are also less likely to tire of these activities as easily as going to the gym.
Exercise needs to be practiced year after year for greater efficiency. This should be ongoing year after year to be effective.
3. Change your diet
Try following a Mediterranean diet or even cut out meats completely and become a vegetarian. Three dietary evils that reduce life expectancy are bad fats, high body weight, and a lack of antioxidants.
One of the leading causes of death in the U.S. is heart disease, and its main cause is raised blood pressure and cholesterol. These result in blocked arteries, one of the main problems that lead to heart disease.
Whatever dietary changes you decide on, the aim is to reduce your fat intake. This is easy to do if you eat less cheese, cream, and animal fats, and substitute them with healthier oils like olive or avocado oils. Also, swap processed foods, sugars, and fried foods for whole grains, fiber, plant-based proteins, fish.
4. Control your stress levels
Stress is one of the nuisances of modern life, and studies have shown it leads to many health problems. These include heart disease, cancer, insomnia, and depression. De-stressing your body will help you increase your life expectancy. Exercise, yoga, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques can help you calm your mind and body.
5. Take care of your gums
There is one simple daily procedure that can improve your chances of living longer, and that is flossing. It does not only help prevent gum disease but also prevents heart disease. Flossing helps to prevent inflammation of the gums, which in turn leads to a harmful bacterial infection that damages the arteries by causing plaque.
6. Cut out the bad habits
Some of our behaviors can affect life expectancy.
- Don’t smoke, and if you stop immediately.
- Drive carefully, and always wear your seatbelt.
- Watch your weight. Obesity leads to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and premature death. Maintain your body mass index at between 18.5 to 24.9.
- Watch less television because it makes you inactive, and less social. Sitting in front of the TV encourages you to nibble more and leads to anti-social behavior. Watching the news and some shows also lead to increased stress.
- Drink alcohol in moderation – for men that is one or two drinks a day, and for women it is one a day. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, and between 1 and 1.5 ounces of spirits, depending on its proof.
7. Stay connected with those you care about
Finally, positive relationships and staying connected with your friends and family have been proven to reduce the impact of stress on your health. Socializing with people increases communication and leads to less stress. You will feel happier and socializing improves your health. Speaking on the phone or through emails does not equal going out and sharing these over a cup of coffee or around a dinner table.