In the past several years, we’ve become more and more obsessed with living longer lives. And it is understandable. Who doesn’t want to live 100 years or more? Of course, as long as those years are filled with joy, happiness, and friends all around us. How to live longer has definitely become one of the most searched phrases on Google, and the good news is, you can easily increase life expectancy.
Some simple lifestyle changes, and eliminating one or two bad behaviours, can easily buy you as many as 10+ years. With that in mind, what is that you can change? Let’s take a look.
Lifestyle changes for how to live longer
Do not overeat
If you want to leave more than 100 years old, it is wise to leave a little bit of food on your plate. We know, we know. Ever since we were little, our parents taught us not to leave food on our plate. But this is the Japanese style of eating.
Called “Hara hachi bun me”, and sometimes misspelt “hari hachi bu” is the secret of longevity in Japan. This is the Confucian teaching that instructs people to eat until they are 80% full. That means that once you reach a point of fullness, you can leave the food on the plate.
Even studies have proven this theory, so start practising it as soon as you can.
Make love, not war
Having satisfying sex is another thing that can improve life expectancy. In particular, having two to three times sex per week can add up to three years to your life. Get busy to burn calories, but also improve happiness hormones.
In addition, regular sex lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, protects heart, and boosts your immunity. All of these are crucial if you want to know how to live longer.
Step out in the sun
The simplest way to increase life expectancy is to go outside. When you go outside, you expose your skin to sunlight, and allow your body to produce vitamin D. Called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is crucial for bone health, heart health, preventing diabetes, preventing depression, and much more.
According to some statistics, 50% of adults have low levels of vitamin D. And it is only because we do not go outside as much as we need to. We tend to sit by a window, which doesn’t count. Getting outside just 15 minutes per day in the sun will help you increase your life expectancy by a couple of years.
Hang out with friends
There are a couple of lifestyle habits that do not cost at all, and they can help you live longer. One of those habits is hanging out with friends and family. The more connected someone is, the better his overall health.
Try to maintain a positive relationship with your partner, friends, and family. This is the best way to get connected. People in positive relationships are less likely to take on risky behaviours. In the same time, they are more likely to take care of themselves.
Having people around also decreases the amount of stress in life, which is crucial for a longer lifespan. We will talk about stress and how it affects the quality of life later on.
With that in mind, one way of improving relationships with friends and family is to get in the habit of telling good stories. As we know, stories are a way of communicating with one another and telling a good one will strengthen communication.
Commitment to daily exercise is another lifestyle change you can make to improve your life expectancy. Studies have shown that people that exercise on a daily basis are much healthier than people that do not exercise. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to go through a vigorous training regime every day.
But as long as you exercise three times per week in the gym, and you do some light exercise on the other four days, you are good to go.
Be careful, going more than 2 days without any light exercise (even some walking/running), will put you at danger of quitting your routine. It is easy to slip from three days of exercise to three weeks or months without exercise. Be careful. Doing daily exercises will also improve your sleep, which is helpful in many ways for your overall health and energy levels.
Turn off the TV
Nobody says you should not watch TV at all. But staying half the day in front of the TV? That is now a cause of concern. Too much time in front of a TV can have a serious toll on your health. Cut a little bit of TV time per day, and you will see how your health improves. Strive to get to a maximum of three hours of TV per day.
Drink in moderation
The double-edged sword here is that wine is good for your overall health. Drinking a glass of wine per day can actually improve heart and cardiovascular health. But that is drinking in moderation. If you want to know how to live longer, be sure to drink in moderation.
Having more than two or three drinks per day (women and men accordingly) can lead to weight gain, relationship problems, liver problems, and much more.
Consume more fruits and vegetables
We will get more into depth about foods that improve life expectancy. But a general rule of thumb is that a diet high in fresh and raw fruits and vegetables can help you lead a healthier, and longer life. You need at least three servings of fruits and vegetables per day. These foods are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, all of which improve your overall health.
Just consuming fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease by more than 70%. In addition, fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants, which will reduce wrinkles and improve the health of your skin. Not only you will live longer, but you will also look younger.
If you cannot quit smoking, at least try to reduce it. Or try some electronic cigarettes. Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health. You can add up between 6 and 8 years to your life expectancy just by quitting smoking.
And it is never too late to quit smoking. Even smokers who have already damaged their lungs can benefit from quitting smoking.
You will be surprised how flossing can help you live longer. Flossing falls into the weird but true category. Flossing does two things for you. First and most important, flossing prevents gum disease. But second, and also important, flossing prevents heart disease.
When you floss, you prevent your gums from becoming inflamed. What you do not now is that inflamed gums can cause a chronic bacterial infection in your mouth, which harms your arteries. The bacteria can find their way into your arteries, and your body’s immune system will have to react, causing inflammation. That causes arteries to narrow, and make it hard for your heart to do to its job properly.
Find a way to manage and control stress
Stress is a major factor in many diseases that can be life-threatening. For example, stress is one of the biggest factors for heart diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Life expectancy is affected by stress in two ways. The first is by direct unhealthy effects of stress on your body. The second is through negative behaviours that are considered stressed triggers. For example, stressed triggers include smoking and eating unhealthy food.
Learn to relax and practice stress relieving techniques. Stress is linked to heart disease, cancer, insomnia, and much more. Focus on stress to improve the quality of your life and your long-term health.
Screenings and tests
Last, but not least, one way for how to live longer is to practice regular checkups. Go on regular medical tests and health screenings to diagnose a potential problem in its early stages. For example, cancer in its early stages can be cured and treated.
Of course, the challenge is to figure out what tests to take, and when to take them. Talk with your physician for better understanding of regular medical tests and screenings.
Best Foods to Increase Life Expectancy
If you want to celebrate more birthdays, you need to pay attention to what you are eating. Here are the best foods that help you live up to 100 years or more.
Some people love them, others hate them. But these bitter berries are very healthy, and studies show they can help you live up to 25% longer. Cranberries help with urinary problems, but they are also high in antioxidants that improve heart health.
Being that antioxidants are the gold standard you need for longer life expectancy, green tea is a logical choice. Green tea has more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. The tea can help you reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
When you talk about healthy ingredients, you have to mention omega-3 fatty acids. And if there is one food group that is high in these healthy fats, that is nuts. Be it almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, or anything else, they are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Nuts can help you reduce the chance of cancer, respiratory diseases, and heart diseases.
All fish is great for improving life. After all, fish is one of the staples in the Mediterranean diet and in Japanese cuisine. Both are praised as healthy and great for improving life expectancy. And they are the answer to the question of how to live longer. Salmon is on the top of the list of healthy fishes, especially wild-caught salmon. One serving will be enough to load up on omega-3 fatty acids.
Blueberries are widely considered superfood due to their high levels of antioxidants. Other foods that contain polyphenols can extend your life, but blueberries are the gold standard.
One staple in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Consuming olive oil can help you increase the lifespan by 20%, and that is more than you can wish for.