Have you ever wondered how long you’ll live?
There are online calculators that can give you an estimate, based on your current age, weight and lifestyle, how long you might expected to live.
Of course, those are simply an estimate, but what’s clear is there are factors which influence the length and quality of our lives, and many of them we have some control over.
You can extend your life expectancy by practicing healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep, exercising and not being overweight.
If you want to live as long as possible (who doesn’t?) here are nine things you can do to increase your chances of a long life.
1) Run and walk quickly. Studies have shown people who walk faster live longer. It’s just that simple. When out walking, be mindful of your pace. If you find yourself slowing down, make a conscious effort to increase your speed.
2) Learn constantly. Always challenge the brain. Cognitive skill is like any other physical trait, if you don’t use it, you will lose it. Try doing crossword puzzles, reading or writing something outside your comfort zone, or traveling to a unique destination with a different culture. Even learning a new physical skill impacts the brain in a positive way.
3) Sleep restfully. We now have a myriad of distractions available to us to keep us awake. Calming the brain at the end of the day is the first step to better sleep. If you wake frequently, find the source of the disruption and research ways to overcome this. If you do not sleep restfully, you simply will not be firing on all cylinders.
4) Interact with others daily. People with a vibrant social network are also shown to live longer than those in relative isolation. It is vital to get out of your comfort zone and interact with others.
5) Eat colorfully and sparingly. This requires some explanation. Your goal should be to eat a wide range from the color palette; reds, greens, purples, etc. Work towards an entire assortment of colors. (Refined and processed foods tend to lack vibrant color, unless this color is artificially introduced.)
The second part of the equation is to eat sparingly. Studies have shown that, up to a point, the less caloric intake you have, the longer you will live. In short, be aware of your portion sizes. In the US, this is perhaps one of the biggest contributors to the obesity epidemic.
6) Lift weights regularly. Nothing has been shown to retain or even gain muscle mass better than resistance training, that’s just a fact.
Running and walking won’t do it and yoga won’t do it. These activities have their place, but not as the sole source of exercise. It is important to realize that every year after the age of forty, you can lose up to a half pound of muscle mass per year. The only way to combat this atrophy is with resistance training.
7) Worship and/or meditate regularly. The inner peace that comes with these actions is a form of stress reduction. This is vital for a longer life and proper functioning. Whether you find contentment through Church, Tai Chi, Temple, or some other form of worship or meditation, attention to the needs of the ‘soul’, if you will, is vital for longevity.
8) Stand up and lie down smoothly. Move! Do so efficiently and often. Studies have shown that people who have the mobility, agility, and relative body strength to go from a standing position down to a seated position on the floor, then get all the way back up smoothly with minimal support or excessive effort, live longer than those who struggle with this simple task. Stay mobile.
9) Reduce all forms of inflammation, diligently. More and more research is coming out saying that inflammation is at the center of many diseases; with links to Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
The common link connects back to inflammation. This does not mean take anti-inflammatory drugs constantly.
Investigate the list of foods which have an anti-inflammatory action in the body. Reducing inflammation can be accomplished through diet and exercise.
These nine actions are an example of how good science can contribute to your health, weight management and longevity.
None of us can control how much time we have in this life, but there are things we can do to help make the life we do have one of quality, and perhaps extend it as well.