10 ways to extend your lifespan
We all want to add years to our lives, and we all know that diet, exercise and lifestyle habits play a major role, but there are a few proven ways to extend your lifespan. Here are our top 10… (Pics)
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Scientists have found that those who exercise, don’t smoke, eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and drink moderately lived 14 years longer! Now that’s impressive. Among these factors, besides smoking, eating fruit and veg is the second best way to prolong your youth.
Why? Well they contain lots of vitamins and fibre and will help you manage your weight, and they are packed with antioxidants, which neutralise the free radicals that damage cellular DNA – a core piece of the aging process.
2. Get more aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of heart disease by increasing the elasticity of arteries, it boosts good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol as well as blood pressure. It also prevents diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and by reducing body fat levels. What’s more is that it prevents cancer by strengthening the immune system and the body’s antioxidant defense system.
3. Eat less sugar
Experts believe that the obesity epidemic threatens to reduce the life expectancy of the average person. Heart disease is directly related to being overweight. Although fat, and especially saturated fat, has typically received the most blame for causing weight problems, increasing evidence suggests that sugar might be the true culprit.
4. Don’t oversleep
Although it’s a common belief that eight hours of sleep is required for optimal health, a six-year study of more than one million adults ages 30 to 102 showed that people who get only six to seven hours a night have a lower death rate. Individuals who sleep eight hours or more, or less than four hours a night, were shown to have a significantly increased death rate compared to those who averaged six to seven hours.
5. Be optimistic
Apparently optimists hearts stay healthy for longer than those that are always down in the dumps. People who described themselves as highly optimistic a decade ago had lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease and lower overall death rates than strong pessimists, research found.
6. Build some muscle
Muscle strength is one of the most significant indicators of age. Increasing your muscle strength is one of the most effective ways to slow the overall aging process.
For example, a study from the University of Pittsburgh found that, in a group of 70-79 year olds, the strongest men and women had the lowest risk of dying over a five-year period.
7. Eat fewer calories
Calorie restriction slows aging by increasing levels of hormones that maintain energy balance, and that these hormones also act on certain genes that control the rate of aging. Another theory is that the DNA in cells experience less free radical damage when calories are restricted. Then again, don’t overdo the restrictions as you do need to maintain a healthy intake of vitamins and minerals.
Processing stress is very taxing for the body. If the body is subjected to too much stress too often, things begin to break down. Chronic stress is known to cause the brain to degenerate. Over the long-term this increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Stress also increases body fat storage, promoting weight gain and all of the health problems that result from overweight. Workers in stressful jobs are more prone to all kinds of health problems and don’t live as long as those with less stressful careers.
9. Drink in moderation
While excessive alcohol consumption has caused and continues to cause many problems for individuals, families, and cultures, the health benefits of moderate drinking have long been recognised. If you don’t drink alcohol at all – great! If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. This means no more one to two drinks per day. Any more than this and it will affect your liver, brain and waistline.
Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to improve heart health by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol and lowering levels of LDL cholesterol.
10. Get a pet
According to studies conducted all over the world, it is in fact true that pet owners live longer. This is so widely accepted in many parts of the medical community that doctors sometimes recommend pets to their patients, and pet therapy is a growing phenomenon.
Surveys of pet owners have shown that people with pets tend to have lower blood pressure and decreased stress levels, regardless as to other factors in their lives. Many pet owners have lower blood pressure, and dog owners in particular tend to be in better physical condition than non-dog owners. Pet owners are less likely to experience strokes and heart attacks.
For people who are depressed, pets can provide a reason to get up in the morning. Because many pet owners feel a sense of responsibility for the animals they care for, this responsibility can be a driving force for someone struggling with depression and loneliness.
Pets have also been shown to be beneficial for the elderly, especially older people who live in isolated environments.