If you want to live longer and be healthy for those extra years, then it’s a matter of playing the probabilities. You can increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life by following the below steps. Although this is no guarantee of attaining a ripe old age, following these steps makes living longer at least more likely.
Step one – Eating for a long life
To live longer you need to eat the correct food. A low-fat diet with plenty of greens is not all I mean by that either. You need to take in a wide variety of foods if you are to ensure that you have all of the correct vitamins, minerals, proteins, fatty acids and trace elements to keep healthy and to fight off disease. So to live longer, together with keeping fat and general sugar levels in your diet to a minimum, you need to also ensure that your diet is as varied as possible. Swap around the foods that you take in, experiment with new vegetables and fruits and don’t be afraid to be generally adventurous with your diet. Of course still, always obey the hard fast rule of reading the label first and doing a little general research into any food that you do make a part of your diet!
Finally, as an increasingly large amount of evidence is gathering as to the positive effects of various antioxidant foods in the diet, try to include these types of foods in your meals as much as possible.
Step two – Exercise your body into a long life
Exercise is not just good for the heart, depending on the kind of exercise that you do, it can:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Improve circulation
- Lower the risk of a stroke
- Help to strengthen your immune system
- Prevent muscle and bone atrophy
- Improve concentration and memory
- Increase life expectancy
When exercising aerobically oxygen demand in the muscles increases in order to fuel the muscle contractions. With prolonged periods of exercise, the body adapts to this need for oxygen in the following ways:
Blood vessels widen so that more blood (and therefore oxygen) can be transported to the muscles), a by-product of which is a general increase in the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all muscles and organs (including the brain)
The heart increases in size and strength in order to pump the blood to the muscles, a side effect of which is a decrease in the hearts susceptibility to injury and disease
Hormones such as growth hormone are produced in greater amounts in order to repair the exercise-damaged muscle fibres, a hormone that also increases general strength and vigour in many other organs and tissues of the body
Therefore, in order to live longer, exercise should be included in your day to day routine as much as possible.
Step three – Learn the lessons of the hundred-year-olds. Don’t stress
Many studies have been conducted involving centenarians (individuals who have lived for a hundred years or more) and a lot of information has been gathered relating to their diets, lifestyles and genetics. Whilst it is true that many centenarians tend to have many family members who have also lived long lives, a fact that implies a genetic component to longevity, one striking commonality is also present in the subjects. Namely, they generally seem to have a low tendency towards stress. Many centenarians tend to be relaxed individuals who seem to take life as it comes, neither subjecting themselves to stressful stimuli if they can avoid it and taking stressors in a relaxed and measured way when they do present themselves.
Stress has such a strong effect on health and the length of life because a stressed individual produces high levels of damaging hormones such as Cortisol. Hormones that weaken the immune system and inhibit the body’s ability to fight infection and to repair damaged tissues. All of which reduces life expectancy.
So the moral of the story is that if you want to live a long life, then you should try to avoid stressful situations as much as you are able to. Or at least learn to deal with stress in a measured and controlled way.
Step four – Sleep
What happens when you sleep? Well, you dream, you toss and turn, maybe you snore 😉 All true, but one other thing that you do when you sleep, is you repair damaged tissues and organs. Whilst you are asleep, a number of hormones (such as Growth hormone) are released into the bloodstream and this initiates a process of cell and tissue regeneration which is unable to be fully accomplished whilst awake. Lack of sleep, therefore, inhibits our quest to live longer. With this in mind, you should try your best to get those early nights or at least if you don’t, then do your best to have a sleep in at the weekends.
Step five – Develop strong and loving relationships
It has been shown that individuals who live longer also have a higher likelihood of being surrounded by loved ones. They tend to get married, have children and have a close circle of friends. These individuals, therefore, have emotional support around them in times of stress and hardship. All of which means that their levels of stress, are reduced. Reduced stress causes a cascade of other benefits to the body:
- A reduction in the levels of damaging hormones, such as Cortisol
- Deeper and more effective sleep
- A reduction in blood pressure
- A strengthening of the immune system
All of the above steps are just a general guide, but if you do play the odds and try to incorporate these steps into your life, then you may find that you live longer and are healthier and happier in the life that you have.