There are some perks to old age—you can eat dinner at 4 p.m., enjoy discounts at the zoo, and your joints can predict the weather more accurately than the meteorologist—but for the most part, you want to keep your mind and body young, sharp, and strong.
And since it ain’t over till it’s over, why not preserve your quality of life and tack on a few years to your lifespan? Nix bad habits, adapt some lifestyle changes, and make these easy fixes to take your well being to the next level.
Eat Fewer Calories Overall
Calorie-restricted diets help keep hearts young, a June 2012 study found. In an effort to live longer participants (averaging 50 years of age) ate healthy diets and consumed 30 percent fewer calories than normal for seven years. In the end, their hearts functioned more like that of someone 20 years younger.
And an April 2015 study from the American Physiological Society found caloric restriction can also protect your muscles from aging and deterioration. After a 14-week long study, middle-aged rats placed on a (10 percent, then 25, then 40 percent) diet restriction had muscles resembling much younger rats. Their metabolisms were reprogrammed, which increased their muscle mass. “Caloric restriction is the only non-pharmaceutical and non-genetic strategy that increases the lifespan of animals and provides health benefits,” according to the researchers.
But Eat More Anti-Aging Foods
Unfortunately there’s no magic elixir that tacks on 10 years to your lifespan, but you can feast on superfoods to stay strong, healthy and energized as the years pass by.
Luckily, there are 5 Anti-Aging Superfoods That Make You Feel Younger and 20 Foods That Keep You Young.
The Mediterranean Diet— which emphasizes fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts—has also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as lengthen your life, according to research from the Spanish Foundation For Science And Technology. Enjoy a better quality of life one bite at a time with these easy eating changes.
Running for 10 minutes a or a 15-minute walk can add three years to your life. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that runners have a 45 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 30 percent lower risk of early death compared to non-runners.
Go to Bed
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a terrible mantra to live by—mostly because you’ll be dead sooner than if you just got the recommended amount of shuteye. A study from the University of Warwick found that people who cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes.
Time between the sheets can make you feel younger, reduce stress, boost immunity, enhance sleep, protect against prostate cancer, and improve cardiovascular health. What's more, a 25-year study from Duke University found that the more sex you have, the longer you'll live.
Surround Yourself With Friends
Researchers from McGill University, studying the mortality rates and social interactions of more than 100,000 people, discovered that family time increases your chances of kicking the bucket, most likely because of the stress it causes. Time with pals, on the other hand, decreased early death risk by seven percent.
Look on the Bright Side
Trite but true: Optimists have healthier hearts. A University of Illinois study measured heart health, then surveyed subjects’ outlook in life. Optimists were up to 76% more likely to have healthier tickers.
Quit Smoking Already
Smoking 10 cigarettes a day takes 10 years off your life, according to a study—conducted on 200,000-plus 45 and older Australians—published in the journal BMC Medicine. Your bad habit isn’t just off-putting, it doubles your risk of premature death, as compared to non-smokers.
Step Into a Sauna
The Finnish are clearly onto something. According to the research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, saunas improve blood vessel function, exercise capacity, lower blood pressure for those suffering hypertension and lessen the likelihood of death from heart attack, stroke and other heart-related conditions. Fatal heart-related deaths are less common in men whose sauna sessions last over 19 minutes, compared with those who spend less than 11 minutes in the sauna.
Keep Running on Dunkin'
If you want to live longer, you might want to rethink giving up your caffeine addiction. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health found that men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent lower chance of dying, compared to men who didn’t drink coffee. Coffee drinkers also had a lower risk of dying from specific diseases, such as respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, and even injuries and accidents.