We all want to live long and healthy lives, but contrary to popular belief, the secret to doing so lies beyond genetics. There are several factors that can contribute to a prosperous life that is entirely in your control, if only you choose to take matters into your hand!
Here are 9 scientifically-backed habits that are linked to a longer lifespan:
Moderating Your Calorie Intake
The first thing to do when you want to increase your lifespan is to take control of your diet. It is of utmost importance that you include healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, spices, herbs, etc. in your diet.
At the same time, you should also avoid overeating. Research in both animal and human studies has shown promising results when considering low-calorie diets, increasing lifespan, and reducing the likelihood of disease. A low-calorie intake can help reduce excess body weight and belly fat, which are both good ways to better your health.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that calorie restriction cannot be done over long periods of time as it can lead to negative side effects. The biggest takeaway from this should be that you should eat only to satisfy your hunger and fill your body with nutritious food, not that you should starve yourself!
Staying Physically Active
There’s no surprise that leading a physically active lifestyle can lead to a longer lifespan, but here are some cold hard facts to back up this claim. Experts claim that even 15 minutes of exercise per day can help you live up to 3 years longer.
The recommended time for exercise per week is 150 minutes, and people who completed this requirement are 28% less likely to face premature death. However, even those who did not hit the 150-minute mark had a 22% lower risk of dying early. And those who exercised for more than 150 minutes per week actually reduced their chance of dying early further to 35%!
Seeing as smoking is one of the biggest dangers associated with chronic illness and early death, being a non-smoker can certainly help your chances of living longer. Did you know that people who smoke may lose up to 10 years of their life and are 3 times more likely to die early when compared to people who have never smoked?
Even if you are or had been a smoker at some point in your life, it’s never too late to quit! You can literally add years to your lifespan by quitting the nasty habit.
Not Drinking Heavily
Similar to smoking, heavy alcohol consumption can be severely damaging to your health. It has been proven to lead to several chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as liver disease, heart disease, pancreatic disease – and an overall increase in the risk of premature death.
While there are some claims made about certain types of alcohol being beneficial to certain aspects of your health, it is important to note that none of them make the comparison between drinking moderately and abstaining from alcohol entirely. All this to say that you should stay off the booze, and if you absolutely cannot, you shouldn’t go past a drink or two now and then.
Being a Happy Person
Being happy is the number one way to increase the quality and longevity of your life. However, it’s not just us saying that. Research has actually proven that happier individuals actually had a lower chance of dying early by up to 3.7%. Another small study showed that happy people may live up to 18% longer than their less happy counterparts.
Laughter and positivity are two things that can help you lead a happy and positive life. And what’s more, is that it is also stated that people who felt happiest in their early 20s were two and a half times more likely to say the same six decades later!
Prioritizing Mental Peace
Another less-than-shocking revelation should be that stress and anxiety can significantly impact the quality of your life, but did you know that it can also increase your chances of dying early? For instance, women who reported being stressed or anxious over a longer period of time were found to be twice more likely to die from stroke, heart disease, or lung cancer. As for their male counterparts, stressed-out individuals were thrice more likely to die prematurely than those who were not.
That’s why it’s important to prioritize your mental peace. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, seek help so that you can avoid turning short-term problems into long-term ones!
Maintaining Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships are an essential part of the formula to a life well lead, and they can also help you live longer. Studies have linked having healthy social networks to increasing lifespan up to 50% longer!
This is undoubtedly because having positive relationships leads to better mental health, reducing the negative effects of stress and depression. Furthermore, it can also lead to changes in several parts of your body from the heart and brain to your hormones and immune system. These lead to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, thereby increasing your lifespan.
Drinking Coffee or Tea
Caffeine gets a bad rap, but when consumed in moderation, there are a number of health benefits one can get from drinks such as tea and coffee. For instance, both coffee and tea drinkers have been found to have a 20-30% lower risk of premature death when compared to non-drinkers.
Furthermore, both of them have been linked to a decrease in the risk of chronic illnesses. Polyphenols and catechins, commonly found in tea (especially green tea), have been proven to lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. At the same time, coffee has been shown to help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers and brain ailments, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
However, keep in mind that too much caffeine isn’t a good thing, especially when it comes to affecting your sleep. The daily recommended maximum intake is 400mg or 4 cups of coffee a day so anything up to that and you should be fine!
Being a Good Sleeper
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to wake up refreshed and ready to seize the day every morning, and it also helps maintain your overall health. Sleep is the time when cells regenerate and the body heals. Therefore, not getting enough of it can lead to inflammation, increasing a person’s likelihood of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. As these are all conditions that can affect your quality of life, it is essential that you get a good 7-8 hours every night. In fact, research has shown that sleeping more than 8-9 hours per night can actually increase your lifespan while sleeping less than 5-7 hours a night could result in a 12% greater risk of early death!