Updated: Sep 6, 2020
Is it possible to live longer? Has Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth been discovered?
Well, maybe not but a recent study published on life expectancies in the US, published in Circulation (a scientific journal for the American Heart Association) concluded:
"Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy in US adults" (no reason why it is restricted to US adults, that's just where the studies were carried out) and suggests that adhering to certain behaviours could extend a woman's life expectancy by 14 years and a man's by 12.
What constitutes a Healthy Lifestyle?
1) Follow A Balanced Diet:
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Fill up on wholegrains - a 2015 analysis found that people who eat whole grains regularly live longer.
Power yourself with legumes(beans, lentils etc)
Go nuts - a study found that adding just three servicings of nuts per week lowered the chance of premature death by 39%.
2) Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
This lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and many different cancers.
3) Stop Smoking/Don't Start Smoking
The only safe amount of smoking is no smoking. Period.
4) Take Regular Exercise
The NHS in the UK suggests 30 minutes of physical exercise 5 days a week but by upping to 60 minutes a day you may reduce mortality by 24%!
5) Moderate Drinking
"Just one alcoholic drink a day could shorten your life" reports BBC News.
A study of 600,000 drinkers showed that people who drank more than 12.5 units (100g) of alcohol a week were likely to die sooner than those who kept below that amount.
Current UK guidelines advise limiting alcohol intake to 14 units a week for both men and women. This is equivalent to drinking no more than 6 pints of average-strength beer (4% ABV) or 7 medium-sized glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV) a week.
6) Be Happy
A review of 35 studies showed people who were happy live 18% longer than their less happy colleagues.
Stay positive: pessimistic people have been shown to have a 42% higher risk of early death than optimistic people.
Avoid stress, the silent killer.
Elevated levels of cortisol interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. Manage stress through exercise, breathing techniques or seek professional advice - it is ok to ask for help!
Sleeping for at least 8-9 hours per night could increase your lifespan by up to 38% compared to someone sleeping less than 5 hours, which has been linked with a 12% greater risk of early death.
Whilst your genes play their part, by making small but impactful changes to your health and daily routines you could prolong your life and certainly improve the quality.
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