We all grow old eventually, but what if you could follow a few simple rules to feel younger and live longer?
The average adult lifespan is only 77 years, but in certain pockets of the world, like the Mediterranean and Costa Rica, locals routinely live 100+ years.
Japan, for example, has the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. (1)
What’s their secret?
As it turns out, their daily habits promote joy and positive health.
Of course, diet is a major factor too, but longevity and lifestyle are very closely linked.
Want to live to 100?
Here are seven lifestyle changes you can make today to feel amazing and live longer:
1. Enjoyable Exercise
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that exercise can help you live longer, but did you also know that it’s important to have fun?
For starters, fun habits are always easier to maintain than unpleasant ones.
In fact, most people who live to 100 never even set foot in a gym.
Instead, they walk five to six miles a day and do chores with their hands rather than machines.
And when it comes to actually working out, they stick to exercises that make them smile, like yoga or sports with friends, and the health effects are immediate.
For example, a single hour of yoga can significantly boost GABA: a neurotransmitter that’s strongly linked to anxiety and depression. (2)
At the same time, it’s hard not to feel amazing when you’re playing with friends!
The point is, exercise doesn’t have to be all pain and punishment.
On the contrary, you can reduce heart disease and live longer while having a blast.
The island of Ikaria off the coast of Greece has one of the longest life expectancies in the world.
Not only do they live longer, but they also maintain a high quality of life.
To top it all off, Ikarians have one of the lowest rates of depression.
Is there something in the water?
Nope, no magic water here, just good ol’ fashioned healthy living and a vibrant social life.
Ikarians have close friendships and a tight-knit family support system, and that’s a big piece of the puzzle. (3)
But the Ikarian study isn’t alone…
The Harvard Happiness study has been going on for over 80 years, and they’ve found that embracing community is one of the most powerful ways to live longer. (4)
3. Spend Time In Nature
The Japanese call it “forest bathing,” and they’ve found that spending time in nature can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
For one, spending just 20 minutes in nature can significantly reduce cortisol. (5)
As it turns out, high cortisol is strongly linked to shorter life expectancy, which should serve as a huge wake-up call for lifelong city dwellers.
In fact, another study found that women who lived near a large green space had a 12 percent lower risk of death. (6)
Believe or not, just having a view of natural surroundings can reduce stress. (7)
Because stress can take such a huge toll on the body, it’s important to “go green” if you want to live longer.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Fasting can reduce biomarkers of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and aging. (8)
Although extended fasting can have massive health benefits, intermittent fasting for shorter periods can also extend life.
For example, not eating for just 16 hours can significantly reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins, and rejuvenate the cells. (9)
It’s also a terrific way to lower bad cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and lose weight.
When it comes to longevity and lifestyle, intermittent fasting is a powerful tool.
5. Watch Less T.V.
T.V. is a big part of life for many Americans, but in large doses it can take years off your life.
First off, sitting for long periods can greatly increase the risk of blood clots.
In fact, researchers have found that sitting for longer than three hours at a time contributes to 3.8 percent of deaths. (10)
With that said, sitting is just one part of watching too much T.V…
As it turns out, staring at screens in general can take its toll as well.
In fact, studies show that the blue light from screens can boost cortisol and disturb sleep patterns. (11)
So at the very least, make sure to turn off the electronics a couple of hours before bedtime.
6. Quality Sleep
Regular, quality sleep is one of the biggest predictors of longevity. (12)
For starters, sleep is when the muscles and soft tissues repair themselves.
At the same time, it’s also when spinal fluid floods the brain and sweeps away toxins.
In other words, if you don’t get quality sleep, you can’t repair the cells.
On the same note, this is why naps are so good for cognitive health and emotional well-being.
So take more naps, try to always go to bed at the same time, and get at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.
7. Attend More Concerts
A recent study suggests that going to live music events may help you live longer.
All it takes is one show every two weeks, and life expectancy can shoot up by almost nine years. (13)
In fact, feelings of well-being can increase after just 20 minutes of arriving at a live gig!
What is it about concerts that’s so therapeutic?
For one, music can reduce anxiety and minimize stress. (14)
At the same time, the social aspect can increase feelings of togetherness.
However, if you can’t make it to concerts, simply listening to music can…
- Improve memory
- Reduce stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce depression
- Improve sleep
- Inspire creativity
…and even improve pain tolerance.
Together, all of these factors can boost well-being and motivate you to make healthier choices.
If you have any further questions about longevity and lifestyle, our providers at Complete Care Health Centers are happy to help.
Feel free to contact us today for advice about how to feel younger and live longer.