Eight Secrets for a Longer Life

Did you know that healthy habits can slow aging at the cellular level? As we age, our chromosomes become shorter, which is proven to increase our vulnerability to disease. Lifestyle changes can reverse the effects of age on one’s chromosomes and even lengthen them. Here are some tips to help you live a longer life:

  1. Make sleep a priority. Good quality sleep—and enough of it—can lower risk for mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. According to Dr. Louise Chang, “Sleeping less than five hours per night boosts the risk of premature death, so make sleep a priority.”
  2. Choose your friends wisely. It’s easy for friends’ habits to rub off on you. Choose friends who live healthy lifestyles, i.e., those who are tobacco free, physically active, eat healthy, and make good decisions on how to manage their stress.
  3. Quit smoking. A recent British study shows that quitting smoking at the age of 30 can increase your lifespan by an entire decade!
  4. Try the Mediterranean diet. High in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish, this diet lowers many contributing factors to heart disease, such as weight gain, increased blood sugar, and high blood pressure.
  5. Moderate your drinking habits. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol can lower risk for heart disease, but too much can increase blood pressure and host other health problems. The limit set by the American Heart Association is one drink per day, but if you don’t drink, don’t start.
  6. Forgive. No need to hold grudges when doing so can strongly affect your physical health. Chronic anger can cause decreased lung function, heart disease, and stroke. By forgiving, you reduce those risks for disease and anxiety.
  7. Use safety gear. The easiest tip to live a longer life is to wear safety gear. Accidents are the fifth most common cause of death in the U.S. Seatbelts can reduce serious injury by 50 percent in any vehicle accident. Be cautious and protect your life.
  8. Maintain a sense of purpose. Manage stress by finding a hobby or activity that gives you a sense of enjoyment and belonging. Hobbies and recurring activities can decrease risk for stroke and heart disease. Those with a high sense of purpose are also at a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study by Rush University Medical Center.

Source: WebMD.com: 18 Secrets for a Longer Life (2011).

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Last updated 4/1/2015