The average life expectancy for people in the United States has reached a record high. Modern men can expect to live until the age of 76-years-old, while women retain the lead with an expectancy of 81 years. Despite those numbers, wouldn’t it be great if we could add on a few extra years? With improved health and lifestyle changes, we can – but that is only the beginning.
Following a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and not smoking help you in your mission of attaining a longer life, but there is so much more you can do. Below, we give you a list of ten unexpected ways that will help you add on the years.
1. Adopt a Dog
They don’t call dogs “man’s best friend” for nothing! Not only will adopting a new family member make you happier in the long term, but it will also add years to your life expectancy. Studies show that adopting a dog improves mood, lessens depression and reduces overall anxiety.
Dogs make people more social, they provide companionship and they make their owners have to get outside and exercise. Besides all of the health benefits, who doesn’t want to come home to a happy face with a wagging tail every day?
2.Maintain a Positive Attitude
It’s no secret that those who maintain positive outlooks are more likely to live longer lives. Excessive worrying is stressful on your mind and body, thus leading to the possibility of high blood pressure and heart disease.
The Women’s Health Initiative surveyed 100,000 women and found that the most optimistic women had a 9 percent lower chance of dying from a heart attack. Overcoming negative emotions is the key to longer life and avoiding the health pitfalls associated with worry, anxiety and pessimism.
Battle negativity with laughter – it decreases blood pressure, lowers blood sugars and lowers stress.
3. Sleep Regularly and Soundly
Sound, regular sleep is directly linked to health benefits that increase your life expectancy. Those who regularly sleep well benefit from the lowered susceptibility to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Poor sleep patterns lead to a snowballing effect on our bodies as a whole. These long-term results show gradually and are often missed. Restful sleep allows your brain to recharge your body along with optimizing our metabolic rates and cardiovascular systems.
Fifty to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder which increases the risk for serious illness that will impact longevity. Getting a good night’s sleep helps you look younger, feel better and live longer.
4. Go for a Run for 5 Minutes Everyday
Running for five minutes every day offers us longevity increasing benefits that cannot go ignored. Those who run for five to ten minutes daily have a reduced risk of death from heart disease by a whopping 58%.
Regular exercise through running or jogging improves heart and lung function – even if you’re just starting out.
5. Get Up and Move Around
Sitting for longer periods of time not only establishes a pattern of sedentary behavior that is likely to increase over time, but it also affects your health. Merely standing up as opposed to sitting can increase your life expectancy.
In fact, being active gives people an average of two to four years of increased longevity. After age 40, those who exercised at the recommended levels were shown to receive a three-year addition to their lives.
6. Stop Drinking Soda
Drinking soda on a regular basis leads to weight gain, depression and type 2 diabetes. Heavy soda consumption also leads to tooth decay and is directly linked to accelerated aging.
During the aging process, the caps on the end of our chromosomes – called telomeres – shrink. Researchers have linked those who drank soda heavily to having shorter telomeres. What this means is that the shorter the telomere, the more you speed up the aging clock.
To combat this, eliminate soda from your diet completely and replace it with water. You’ll thank us later!
7. Volunteer Your Time
Offering your time in service to others not only makes us feel good about ourselves, but is also linked to healthier living on a long-term basis. Those who volunteer their time experience an enhanced well-being, lowered likelihood of depression and better life satisfaction.
Among a study of retirees who volunteered, it was found that they were less likely to suffer from high blood pressure than those who didn’t volunteer. Those devoting at least 200 hours of their time in service to others were also shown to have a lower risk of heart disease than their non-volunteering counterparts.
8. Jump-Start Your Day with Coffee
Kick starting your morning with a cup of Joe can increase your longevity as coffee has been proven to lessen the risk of suffering from chronic diseases.
While too much caffeine can cause sleep-depriving anxiety, just enough of the hot beverage can decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
To avoid canceling out the health benefits of coffee, avoid adding syrups or whipped cream on your drink.
9. Have a Purpose
Finding a greater sense of purpose in life keeps us all going, no matter what that purpose is. Maintaining purpose in your life actually increases longevity over those who only focused on a particular goal.
Those with a greater purpose in life are more inclined to take the steps needed to stay healthy so that they may live long enough to achieve their purpose and make a difference.
To develop your sense of purpose, focus on the positive impact you’ve had on people or in various situations. Having purpose energizes us and causes us to work toward the end goal without focusing too much time on imperfections.