Scientists have been saying for years that we can add years to our life just by making changes in our lifestyle and habits. Here’s 7 ways to lengthen your lifespan, according to experts.
Want to add a few years to your life? You absolutely can, but not with trendy diets and so-called miracle pills. And if you’re hoping good luck will help, maybe you’ll have good fortune on your side, but living a longer life is really about healthy and positive lifestyle choices that can increase your lifespan. There are several simple tricks to prolong your life, according to experts we spoke with, so read on for seven habits to do daily and to ensure your health and the health of others.
1. Get in 10,000 Steps a Day
Dr. Michael Roizen M.D., and author of the forthcoming book The Great Age Reboot says, “Walk or do other physical activities that get you to at least 10,000 steps or step equivalents a day. Studies show that being active turns on certain genes that keep your brain and body younger for longer. That is the key –you are a genetic engineer and making healthy choices changes gene functioning to produce proteins that keep you younger and better functioning for longer.”
2. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
There are a few ways maintaining a healthy body weight sets you up for a longer life. One is that weight gain, particularly obesity, shortens your life, and it’s been proven to do so. You likely know that the excess weight, and visceral fat, can lead to a heart attack and diabetes but a new American Cancer Society report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, measured cancer cases and deaths through 2018, and found that obesity could soon overtake smoking as the #1 cause of cancer. So what’s a “healthy body weight”? Says the CDC: “If your BMI”—that’s body mass index—”is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range.”
3. Drink Coffee
Even non-caffeinated beverages were found to increase the lifespan of those studied in one fairly recent report, published in JAMA Network. “Coffee drinking was inversely associated with mortality, including among those drinking 8 or more cups per day,” said the researchers. Drinking coffee cuts your risk of liver problems, according to a study from this year. It’s also been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer and melanoma.
4. Eat a Little Chocolate Every Week
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, New York City-based plant-forward culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook states, “While indulging in daily candy bars is not the way to go; savoring a small bite (slightly less than one serving) of chocolate every week may be a smart and scrumptious way to boost longevity. And it appears to be better to have it than to not have it at all. John Hopkins Medicine states that dark chocolate increases heart health, balances the immune system, combats diabetes, improves brain function and more. “Dark chocolate has many health benefits and can definitely be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. There are many healthy ways to incorporate chocolate into your lifestyle, so find what works for you.”
5. Prioritize Your Happiness
None of us are the platonic ideal of “happy” all the time, but if you aren’t prioritizing your happiness, you are putting your life on the line. An oft-quoted study found that a “positive affect” leads to better health, while a review of 35 different studies found that “positive psychological well-being has a favorable effect on survival in both healthy and diseased populations.” If you feel you just cannot achieve that happy feeling, consider discussing your situation with a therapist. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest.
6. Stay Positive, Socialize, Reduce Technology
Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University tells us, “Given the stressful times we live in, studies have now shown that stress, isolation, pessimism, and excessive technology use are directly and indirectly linked to a variety of health risks that affect the heart and brain. For example, recent studies have shown that optimists may live longer and isolation, stress, and technology addiction can increase risk of heart attacks and stroke. Maintaining an active lifestyle and having a reasonable social life can add several quality years of life for an individual.”
7. Eat Good and With a Schedule
“Food is medicine; it needs consumption in the right amount, at the right time, and of the right quality,” says Dr. Khubchandani. “Less than a fifth of Americans consume adequate fruits and vegetables; junk and fast-food consumption has increased tremendously, and dangerous diet trends have emerged in the 21st century. As we continue to age, we should carefully watch our diet and consume more fruits and vegetables and unsaturated fats to ensure not putting on too much weight or increasing their risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This is part of aging and unhealthy diets increase the risk of cardio and cerebrovascular diseases (e.g., heart attacks and stroke) or increase the probability of having these diseases earlier in life. Dietary habits have profound influence on both quality and quantity of life by helping weight management and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.”