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Healthy Lifestyle to Add Years to Your Life

Updated on March 31, 2013
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We've all heard it: "You're only as young as you feel." If flipping the calendar to a new year (and, therefore, a new birthday) is beginning to make you a little nervous, here are a few tips to help you work with father time. By making a few lifestyle changes you can add 20 or more years to your life.

Add Years to Your Life: 10 Simple Steps

1. Get Up and Get Moving. Add 2 to 4 years to your life by staying active. Research shows that women who do moderate to intense cardiovascular exercise live 2 to 4 years longer that those who do not. Just walking 30 minutes per day will lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and other health concerns.

2. Eat Power Food. Adds 4 years or more by eating a handful of dark chocolate almonds, fruits, vegetables, garlic, fish, or even a glass or wine. These have been shown to increase a woman's lifespan by 4.8 years (6.6 in men). These particular foods are rich in antioxidants, omega 3-fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients. They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by 76 percent. Eating more fruits and veggies is also associated with a 22 percent decrease in the likelihood of breast-cancer.

3. If You Smoke, Cut It Out. The younger you are when you quite smoking the better. Quitting has been shown to add 2 to 8 years of life.

4. Lose Weight. Shedding excess pounds adds 3 to 4 years to your life. Being overweight has been found to increase the risk of death by 20 to 40 percent. Obesity is linked to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

5.Try Sex. Having sex two to three times per week can be a great boost in you longevity. Experts report that it can add 3 to 8 years to your life. It may also lower you blood pressure, boost your immunity, help you sleep better, and release hormones that are known to protect the heart.

6. Challenge Yourself Mentally. Mental exercises have been shown to add 2 or more years to your life. Keeping the brain cells active as you age is essential. Lifelong learning in combination with a healthy lifestyle can prolong your life substantially. Try puzzles such as sudoku, play with puzzles, or read regularly. These activities are great for exercising mental functions.

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7. Develop a Hobby. Find something you enjoy and do it. This can have 2 years to your life. Having a hobby helps reduce stress and provides you with a sense of accomplishment. This can be particularly important for retirees.

8. Take a Vacation. Research has shown that women who take vacations every six years are eight times more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than those who vacation twice per year.

9. Sleep in. Getting plenty of sleep has been shown to add 2 years to the lifespan. While you are sleeping, the neurons of the brain are less active as they undergo vital repairs. Without these repairs, your nerve cells will be unable to function properly.

10. Don't Forget to Floss. Gum disease and periodontitis lead at 23 to 46 percent higher rate of death. Gum tissue are common sites of inflammation and this can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Remove the bacteria that causes this inflammation by flossing every night.

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