Secrets to Living a Long, Healthy Life
Most people visualize themselves aging gracefully and living a long, healthy life filled with good friends, family, and plenty of activity. While this is something that many people dream of, it’s far from being a fantasy. The fact is, many seniors do it. So what’s their secret? How do these people enjoy all of the benefits of old age while maintaining good health and a happy state of mind?
1. Avoid Stress
Stress is a common factor in dozens of chronic diseases and conditions. According to a 2015 study conducted by the University of California – San Francisco, women suffering from chronic stress have significantly depleted levels of Klotho, a hormone that can help protect the body and brain from aging.
An earlier study, published in the British Medical Journal in 2012, found that people who are under lots of stress are at a 20% increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Because of this, avoiding stress as much as possible is one of the best ways to live a happy, healthy life for many years. While it’s impossible to cut stress out of life entirely, it is possible to cope with it better by learning stress-management techniques, like meditation, and doing healthy things like going for a walk, cooking, or meeting with friends when you feel stressed.
2. Maintain a Healthy Social Life
You knew that your friends made you feel happy, but did you know that they can help you live longer, too? Multiple studies have found that being alone as you age is a significant risk factor in everything from premature death to heart disease and stroke. Because of this, it’s wise to ensure that you maintain a healthy, active social life as you get older. Doing this will not only protect you from depressive symptoms – but it will also help guard your brain against symptoms of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If there were a fountain of youth, it would look a whole lot like a daily walk or run. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind fit as you age. In addition to helping you avoid chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes, daily exercise can also help increase mood-boosting hormones in the brain and will contribute to keeping your body fit, healthy, and capable throughout your golden years. Additionally, exercise is a fantastic way to meet new people, stay engaged in a community, and continue learning new things. If you are planning to start with a healthy activity such as cycling, these are the best tailgate pads.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to make a difference in your community and give back to a cause that you believe in. It’s also one of the best ways to ensure that you enjoy your golden years as much as possible. Studies have shown that people who have a higher sense of purpose – either through faith, religion, or community service – live longer than people who don’t.
While there are no “one-size fits all” rules for determining how and when you give back, it’s clear that getting involved in something bigger than yourself is one of the best ways to stay active, engaged, and passionate as you age.
In light of this, it’s wise to get involved in something you believe in. It doesn’t matter if this is a church, a volunteer organization, or a faith-based community. Simply pick something you’re passionate about and dedicate some time to it. While this may not seem like it has a direct correlation with your longevity and happiness, it’s more important than many people believe.
5. Find Someone to Love
Did you know that being half of a partnership can help you live a longer, healthier life? Whether you’re married or you simply have a sweetie you enjoy spending time with, finding someone to love can significantly reduce your risk of premature death.
A 2013 study conducted by Duke University Medical Center and published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that of 4,802 people, those who were married were far less likely to die prematurely. While researchers still aren’t exactly sure why this is true, many believe that having a partner helps reduce stress and provide a source of support, which makes life more enjoyable.
6. Eat Well
It’s impossible to be truly healthy unless you eat a healthy diet. People who eat ample amounts of wheat, rye, barley and other whole grains enjoy longer lives than those who don’t. The reason for this is that these foods offer nutrients called polyphenols, which can help reduce the risk of early mortality, protect brain health, and decrease the possibility of cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes. To ensure maximum health, ensure that you’re eating a proper mix of nutrients, including plenty of leafy greens, vegetables, protein, and fiber.
7. Sleep Enough
Sleeping well is associated with much more than just waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – it’s also related to living a long, healthy life. According to one study conducted by the University of California – San Diego, people who sleep seven hours each night lived significantly longer than people who slept less than five hours or more than eight hours each night.
Because of this, it’s wise to prioritize sleep in your quest for overall well-being. In addition to helping you feel healthier and more alert, getting the right amount of sleep each night will help protect you from early death and can contribute to guarding against cognitive decline and other age-related symptoms.
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