Almost everyone wants to live a longer, healthier life. Improving your longevity means understanding the science of ageing and adopting smarter daily habits.
Longevity allows you to savour life’s precious moments, like watching your children grow up to achieve their dreams. Additionally, a longer life enables you to create lasting memories and share your wisdom with future generations. Living healthily is about more than just what you look like — it requires staying active and independent as you age.
Fortunately, you don’t have to move mountains, live on a strict paleo-vegan diet, or run marathons to add more years to your life. Check out these six healthy habits to adopt for improved longevity:
1. Sleep more.
Getting a good night’s sleep contributes significantly to improved longevity. Sleep allows the body to rejuvenate and repair itself, a crucial part of maintaining health.
Adequate and restful sleep regulates hormone levels, strengthens the immune system, supports cognitive function, and contributes to weight management. According to experts, adults should get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night to reduce the risk of chronic conditions.
Getting adequate sleep can add years to your lifespan. Over the last century, the population of those 60 years old and older has increased exponentially, in part because we know more about the importance of good sleep.
2. Find a movement that you love.
Do you think of exercise as a form of torture? Just remember, your childhood self loved to run, skip, and jump. But what happened?
Finding a way to move that you actually enjoy can both revive your inner child and improve your longevity. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, take up hiking or bouldering — both are phenomenal workouts. Additionally, stretching and doing yoga to maintain strong muscles and joints can enhance your mobility and reduce the risk of falls and injuries as you age.
3. Eat more healthy foods.
You don’t have to drastically alter your diet to improve your longevity. Instead, add more foods with Omega-3s and probiotics.
Omega-3s, which appear in plant-based foods (like flax and chia seeds) and in fatty fish, act as lubricants for your brain and heart tissues. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends that you eat two servings of fish weekly to give your body enough Omega-3s.
Probiotics, on the other hand, nurture your intestinal microbiome. These are “healthy” bacteria colonies that serve as your body’s workhorses. When these colonies are depleted, you can develop constipation or diarrhea. Eat fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha to get more probiotics into your diet.
You can also explore the Blue Zone diet. Genetics only account for about 20%-30% of longevity, meaning the environment influences the rest. The Blue Zone diet comes from the regions with the highest longevity rates.
It’s heavy on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. This diet promotes a healthier cardiovascular system and a lower risk of chronic diseases. It also encourages mindful eating and social engagement.
4. Tame your stress levels.
Stress can easily take a toll on your physical health. You might not recognize the signs of trouble, but consider taking action if you experience these symptoms:
Racing heart rate
High blood pressure
Shakes and excessive sweating
Sudden weight gain (or loss)
Frequent stomach upset
Making lifestyle changes can ease your stress, though. The best part? Reducing stress can help you live longer too.
5. Make friends.
Who doesn’t want more friends? Nurturing positive relationships can help you live longer. Make time to reach out to someone you care about and plan occasional get-togethers. You could:
As you spend time with friends, you’ll have fun, but you’ll also do your part to reduce the effects of ageing in your life.
6. Create meaning in your life.
Nietzsche once wrote, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Everyone faces hardships in life, but a sense of meaning and a connection to a higher purpose can keep you going.
Many people lose this sense of purpose when they retire. Others never develop it. However, you can build meaning in family, friends, hobbies, and community..
Choose a volunteer organization that supports a cause that you hold dear, or head to your local park to clean up litter. You might start a trend, make friends, and find your missing purpose.
Living longer doesn’t require extreme actions. Making your daily habits healthier is all it takes to improve your longevity. Start incorporating these tips into your daily routine today. You’ll add more years to your life and feel happier too.