Living a healthy lifestyle and making smart choices can add years to your life. While this is not news, many people underestimate the impact that their daily decisions can have on not only their longevity, but on the quality of their years.
There is no doubt that longstanding habits can be hard to break, but experts agree that after only a few months of doing things differently, new habits can replace old ones for the long haul. We humans may be creatures of habit, but we are capable of change when we are properly motivated.
Live-Long Lifestyle Changes
- Quit smoking. Non smokers live longer and healthier lives than smokers. Quitting can add five years to your life!
- Eat fish. Fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids, beneficial to both mind and body. Add it to your diet and expect to celebrate three additional birthdays.
- Get married. Married people live longer and suffer less depression than their single peers. Saying “I do” can add three years to your life.
- Avoid fast food. Banishing the fat and calorie laden fare from your diet can add a good four years to your life—and may help to reduce your waistline along the way!
- Floss your teeth every day. There is a proven link between gum disease and cardiovascular health. Take care of your teeth and gain a year of life.
- Pump iron. Lifting weights builds strength increases flexibility, stokes the metabolism, and can add three years worth of chapters to your life story.
- Snack on nuts. Like fish, nuts have beneficial Omega 3 fats that can add three years to your life. Nuts can be high in calories, though, so try to have just about a handful per day.
- Move it! Simply walking for 30 minutes most days of the week helps you to live longer—up to four years longer!
- Shrink your middle. Watching your weight can do a lot more than simply making you look better. Keeping trim, especially losing that belly fat, decreases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and can add four years to your life.
- Challenge your mind. Learning new things not only makes life more interesting, but can actually add two years to your life, so read, do puzzles, and get a new hobby.
- Take a low-dose aspirin every day. As long as your doctor agrees that it safe for you, taking a low-does aspirin every day can help you to live two extra years.
- Switch to decaf. Caffeine raises blood pressure and can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications in those at risk. So enjoy your coffee, but switch to decaf and add a year to your life.
- Eat your veggies. Load upon salads and other raw vegetables and you’ll likely live longer. Just a cup a day is all it takes to get an extra two years of life.
- Be a social being. People who keep in close contact with friends and family members live longer (and happier) lives. The support and social activity can make a difference of up to seven years!
- Drink, but only in moderation. If you enjoy a cocktail with your dinner, you can indulge safely and add two years to your life. Be careful not to overindulge, though, because too much drinking can take years off of your life.
- Get frisky! Yep, sex adds years to your life. Those with active sex lives, having sex two or three times a week, live three years longer than their lonelier peers. Now that IS good news!
Deciding to redesign an entire life can be far too intimidating, so those who take small steps are the most likely to make lasting changes. Instead of deciding to switch to a healthy diet, embark on a fitness plan, and give up smoking all at the same time, it is wiser to make one small, manageable change and then, once that habit is well-established, work on another.
By gradually improving lifestyle choices and getting comfortable with each little change, many people find that they are happier and healthier than they could have imagined in years past. So take a look at the above list and pick your favourite. That’s a great place to start!