Longevity refers to especially long lived members of a population. The United Nations estimated that in the year 2000 there were more than 180,000 people who were over the age of 100 years throughout the world. They expect that this figure will jump to 3.2 million by the year 2050.
Have you ever thought of what makes some people live longer than others? Many people think that it is an individual's genes that determine longevity; however data does not support it. Previous research on about 3,000 pairs of twins who had identical DNA (the same genes) but as adults had different home environments and lifestyle choices, revealed that only 25% of their longevity was due to their inherited genes. The other 75% was affected by the lifestyle choices they made. These findings suggest that things within our control can make all the difference in our lifespan.
AdvertisementAlthough lifestyle choices like eating right and exercising are crucial for good health, cultivation of satisfying social bonds also play an important role in enhancing mental and physical health.
An October 2014 study by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that life expectancy in the US is 81 years for women and 76 for men.
Follow these simple tips inspired by the lives of people who lived over 100 years to guide you on how to live longer-
1. Diet- People who live longer were found to have a healthy food comprising of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and fish. These food groups have been consistently associated with having cardio-protective benefits. Major part of each meal for Centenarians is plant based. They limit the intake of meat or refined carbohydrates.
Experts recommend five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and three servings of whole grains every day along with two servings of fish every week. Fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory compounds and are rich in antioxidants, which slow down the aging process.
Cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, processed food, sugar, salt and fat helps maintain good health. Do not over eat. Instead of eating until you actually feel full, experts recommend eating till you are 80% full.
A report released by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggested that simply sticking to the nutritional guidelines given by the World Health Organization (WHO) could add eight months to an individual's life.
2. Water- 60% of our total body weight is water. Experts recommend drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water each day.
Water helps to hydrate the skin, deliver nutrients to the cells, and flush out toxins from the body. Inside our cells water helps in manufacturing energy, detoxification, and immune boosting.
3. Smoking- Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Eliminate smoking to lead a healthy and longer life.
4. Physical activity- Engaging in some form of physical activity such as farming, gardening, walking or cycling is crucial to maintain a long life.
Previous studies have suggested that people who stay physically active get extra years of life. A Taiwan study of more than 400,000 people revealed that people who are physically active enjoy an extra three years of life. All that they needed to do was only a 15 minutes of daily physical activity.
The reason relates, in part, to cardiovascular health. Being physically active slows down the buildup of plaque in the arteries and keeps the heart and body healthy a lot longer.
Regular low or moderate level of exercise every day is the key to good health.
5. Social engagement- Spending time with family is one of the most important things in the lives of people who lead long lives.
Review of previous studies has revealed that men and women with stronger social ties have a 50% higher likelihood of surviving longer. Stronger social relationships have also been linked to lower rates of depression and stress.
6. Sleep- Getting a good seven to eight hours sleep each day is important for maintaining a good health. While we sleep, the body gets time to renew itself, manufacture hormones, and keep you from aging.
7. Religious belief- The healthiest people in the world have been found to harbor some sort of religious belief with a common theme of prayer.
Previous studies have suggested that prayer boosts the immune system. It helps to lessen the severity and frequency of a wide range of illnesses.
8. Hobby- Keep up that interest in creative activities, cultivate a hobby or volunteer for a community service. It is important to remain intellectually stimulated. Pensioners with a sense of purpose have been found to live two years longer than cynics.
9. Finance- Being financially independent does not mean being rich. It typically means the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live a healthy life without having to work actively for basic necessities.
Being financially secure enough to own a home by 50 years of age has been linked with improved health and longevity by a 50-year Swedish study investigating the link between lifestyle and life span.
10. Stress- The American Medical Association has suggested that stress†is the basic cause of more than 60% of all human illnesses. Learning to deal with stress can lead to a healthier and longer life.
Stressful events cause an over-production of the stress hormone cortisol. This leads to increased body fat, an elevated risk of high blood pressure, and other health problems.
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