Ah, to chase the Fountain of Youth! In past centuries it was a fairytale. These days it’s becoming more real. People are learning to live longer — some are even living past 115. But what are their secrets? Here are 10 things the experts say you should do.
1. Think of your chair as the grim reaper
Scientists now think that sitting is one of the worst things you can do to your body. When you’re already older (I’m talking 60+) it puts you at higher risk of developing a disability.
But even when you’re younger it’s not good to sit still for extended periods. Time magazine reported that a 2011 study showed every hour people spend sitting and watching TV after age 25 is “linked to a deduction of 22 minutes from their overall life expectancy.”
2. Drink tea, beer, and wine daily
Tea is packed with antioxidants, which can help you fight things like cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. The Mirror reported on one Israeli study that found that “moderate tea drinkers lived substantially longer than those who don’t have a regular cuppa.” Their advice:
Give it a good stir before removing the tea bag, as research shows this releases 15% more of the age-resisting ingredients.
As for wine and beer, Italian researchers reviewed 12 studies about alcohol consumption and concluded that moderate drinkers of wine and beer have a 42 percent lower risk of heart disease than non-drinkers.
3. Don’t burn the midnight oil
Okay, you can burn it if you can get 7 to 8 hours of sleep after, which is considered ideal. A report by NBC showed that getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night means you may be “12 percent more likely to die earlier than if you logged six to eight.”
4. Lift weights
I’m not saying you need to pump iron like a body builder, but being stronger often equals being better prepared to deal with any problems or accidents that might arise. As you get older, that means things like lighter weight barbells, adjustable dumbbells, and kettleballs.
When done properly, weight-training makes microtears in the muscles, which leads your body to generate thicker, stronger muscle fiber.
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5. But don’t exercise in an extreme way
Men’s Fitness magazine says you should avoid “anything over 70 percent of your maximum effort for more than 30 minutes . . . Previous studies have shown that this level of intensity can actually increase inflammation.” It can also increase the risk of injury. Anything like Yoga and swimming are always a great choice.
6. Go on a walk
It doesn’t have to be long—even 10 minutes a day is worth the effort. Dr. Gary Small, the director of the UCLA Center on Aging, told Fitness magazine:
Walking for just 10 minutes a day lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s by 40 percent. Physical conditioning reduces stress and anxiety, which wipe out your memory bank.
To keep yourself on track, consider getting a digital pedometer. It will count your steps and help you meet goals — all for under $20.
7. Eat more veggies to live longer
Leafy greens are always top of the list when it comes to staying healthy. Health magazine also reports that, “the longest-living people tend to eat less meat and more beans, soy, and nuts.”
I think a great solution is to grow your own veggies. That way you get exercise from gardening and you get to enjoy the rewards of your hard work.
8. Have sex more often, maybe
The Mirror also reported on a substantial Welsh study proving that people who have sex less than once per month have double the risk of dying prematurely — at least compared to people who have sex twice a week.
Aside from the health benefits, couples with a healthy sex life can also look up to seven years younger, according to a study by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital – possibly because sex reduces stress, leading to greater contentment and better sleep.
Note: I also found evidence in The Daily Mail of a 109-year-old Scottish woman who said the key to living so long is “staying away from men” and eating porridge.
9. Don’t lose too much weight
So a little padding is a good thing! Put simply: “It’s not good to be skinny when you’re old,” Dr. Claudia Kawas, a neurologist and professor at UC Irvine, said in an interview with 60 Minutes about the secrets of living past 90.
10. The ultimate live longer tip: Don’t worry, be happy
The CDC reports that residents of Hawaii live longer than any other Americans — a fact they attribute largely to having a good work-life balance. Plus, a Gallup poll of US residents resulted in Hawaii “being the least stressed, with about 32 percent admitting that they were stressed on any given day.”