We all want to live longer. A long, healthy life would mean more time spent doing what we want to do and spending more time with our loved ones. For grandparents, they would understandably want to see their grandkids grow up, graduate from school, have a family of their own and perhaps see their great grandkids. Some people are even scared of thinking about death and they try to ignore its existence and reality.
At the start of the year, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics revealed that an American’s average life expectancy has increased. In 2009, the average was 78.2 years. In 2012, the number is at 78.7. Average life expectancy for females is 81.73, and 75.81 for males. The availability of screening tests, more treatment options and proper health information dissemination may have contributed to the increase in life expectancy in the USA and perhaps, the rest of the world.
If you are one of the many people who want to live a longer life, it is important that you pay special attention to your habits, even as early as now. The younger you are when you started practicing healthy habits, the more beneficial it will be for you. To help you kick start your quest towards longevity, here are some tips which will help make things easier for you:
They Exercise – Consistently
A researcher on medicine and aging, Jay Olshansky from Chicago’s University of Illinois, said that there exists a fountain of youth and that is exercise. Previous as well as on-going studies have documented the numerous health benefits of exercise: it is good for the bones, promotes muscle mass, improve balance, enhance mental acuity and keeps you in a good mood – and the benefits can be seen as early as the first workout.
Move around. Get up from that couch and walk around your neighborhood. Go brisk-walking. Exercising with a group of friends could do wonders for you too. Not only will your health benefit, it will also be good for you socially. Instead of taking your car to go to the grocery which is merely two blocks away, walk. Always, always make time for exercise. This will help you avoid obesity, lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke and will also do wonders for your lungs, muscles and joints too.
They Sleep Well
Never, ever sacrifice an hour of sleep for an hour of work, or an hour of partying. Eventually, these hours will add up and will come back to haunt you. Sleep is your body’s way of healing itself, and when you deprive yourself of sleep, you also deprive your body of healing. And we’re not just talking about naps here. We want to get to the REM phase as much as possible because that is when true healing and cell regeneration takes place. So never skimp on sleep. Give your body the rest that it deserves.
They Incorporate Fiber in their Daily Diet
If you want a good day, you might as well start your day right. Eat whole grain foods such as oatmeal in the morning. This will help you obtain a more stable level of blood sugar all throughout the day. Chronically high blood sugar levels could predispose you to diabetes, and this condition truly accelerates the process of aging. Diabetes is a costly and life-changing diagnosis so you must avoid it at all costs. Also, incorporate high fiber fruits and vegetables in your diet. This will help normalize your digestive processes, making bowel movement easier. It also sweeps the bad cholesterol and flushes it out of your system.
They Stay Connected with Friends
Never lose the connection that you have had with friends and loved ones when you were still working. Make the conscious effort to stay connected because this will help you avoid depression, a common incidence among retired individuals. Continue to foster strong social interactions because this is the time when you most need friends and family in your life. There is no need to shut people out. Welcome them because they will be the ones who will provide the much-needed laughter in your life.
They Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Your dentist may have emphasized the importance of good oral hygiene to you many times already but I am once again underlining its importance here. New York University has conducted a study which links daily flossing to having healthy arteries. Flossing could actually help decrease the amount of bacteria inside the mouth. Bacteria can not only cause gum disease, but it can also enter your bloodstream and stimulate an inflammatory process in the arteries. Inflammation of the arteries is one of the well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease because it thickens the walls of the arteries and impedes the normal flow of blood. For the biggest benefits on life expectancy, it is best to floss twice a day.
They Remain Active – Even After 60
Most people, upon reaching the age retirement, feel that they need to rest. Thus, they become sedentary. The problem with a sedentary lifestyle is that it becomes a risk factor for the development of various health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and obesity. Evidence has shown that people who retired from work and then abruptly stopped any form of activity have higher incidences of being obese and having poor heart health. This is according to the director of the Longitudinal Study of Aging from Baltimore, Luigi Ferrucci.
So the best way to make sure that you live longer is to stay active even after you hit 60. In Italy, for example, people who have retired from their jobs do not lock themselves inside their homes and mope around all day, or sitting at their favorite couches watching television. Instead, they work on their small farm and they cultivate vegetables or grapes. This has surely kept them active. If you feel that farming is not for you, you can always do volunteer work that will keep you up on your toes.