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Eleven Secrets To Living A Long And Healthy Life

Updated on December 20, 2016
Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 is a science buff with 11 years of experience writing about of psychology and related-topics.

Do you want to live longer? I suppose most of us would want to. Most people associate aging with a progressive decline in both mental and physical health. In fact, you would find many people out there expressing their desire to die relatively sooner, rather than live to a ripe old age and suffer. Well, should old age always equate to diseases and the misery that comes along with it? It certainly should not. There are many old people around the world, who have managed to live long and stay remarkably healthy. They have lived to 100 and beyond with ease. I see no reason why you shouldn't want to live longer, so let me put forth a few suggestions on how one can live longer, yet healthier.

Eleven Ways to Live Longer and Healthier

Now, when it comes to people who live to a 100 and beyond, the most common reason attributed is them having "good genes." So, if you don't have the "good genes," does that mean you are condemned to living up to 60 or 70? Of course, not!! There are many other factors that determine whether a person would live long and healthy. Let us examine a few of these factors,

Stress And Outlook Towards Life:

Imagine a lifetime's worth of stress and two people who handle stress differently. One, who has a positive outlook towards life and stays optimistic through adversities, and the other person, who gets pessimistic at the drop of a hat and sits brooding over the adversities. Who do you think would live longer?

Various health studies have shown that people who maintain a positive outlook and are able to cope with and manage adversities well live longer than their pessimistic counterparts. In fact, one study by the Mayo Clinic found that optimistic people are 50% less likely to be at risk of dying early compared to pessimistic people.

In short, the inability to manage or cope with stress adequately can kill you quicker. So, find ways to cope with and manage stress better, if you are not good at doing so. Some good ways at countering stress is to try meditation techniques and Yoga. You can also help identify your reaction patterns to adversities and try to change them, so you don't sit around spending your energies brooding over a situation, but rather find ways to channel those energies to tackling the problem immediately and setting things right.

Having Good Social Support:

One of the factors that centenarians (individuals 100 years of age and older) share is a good social support system. They mostly are not lonely people. They have friends and family who support them and are around when they need them. Having this social support system helps keep them in better physical and mental health and reduces the normal stress levels an aged person (without social support) might have to face.

Healthy Diet:

Longevity depends on what you put into your bodies. Here is a guide to what you should be having and what you should look to avoid,

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (five servings a day if possible).
  • Avoid processed foods as much as you can.
  • Avoid deep-fried foods, fast foods, lots of eggs or meat (esp red meat). Steamed foods are always better than fried.
  • Drink green tea for its antioxidant benefits.
  • Drink a glass of red wine a day - it has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, crab, oysters, shrimps, leafy green vegetables, etc. Omega-3s have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and help with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s have also been shown to reduce the tendency of blood to clot, thereby reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, etc.
  • Include ingredients like garlic, turmeric, oregano in your diet - these have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the immune system.

Staying Active:

Most centenarians follow an active lifestyle that involves climbing stairs, walking, etc. They don't lead sedentary lifestyles. Exercise builds muscle and guards against muscle wasting. Walking 15 to 30 minutes every day / running / cycling / playing tennis / other exercises helps lower your risk of heart disease and shed those excess pounds. Apart from the physical benefits, exercise also helps keep the person alert and have a better sense of well being.

Challenge Your Brain:

As one tends to get older, the tendency is to do less of everything. Using one's brain is no exception. The normal older human tends to use his/her brain less as they get older. This can result in a deterioration of one's cognitive ability. You shouldn't let your brain "rust." Instead, challenge your brain by doing puzzles, solving crosswords, learning a new language perhaps, learning dance or music, participating in sports, etc.

Find A Purpose For Your Life:

If you don't have a purpose in life at an older age - find a way to add meaning to your life. You might consider doing volunteer work in your community or find any social cause to support and help out with. You could decide to travel the world (if you have the money). In short, find a goal that keeps you motivated and makes you look forward to living your life.

Laugh Your Way To A 100:

The connection between having a sense of humor and long life has been documented by various health studies. Humor is the best de-stresser around. Having a sense of humor yourself and having people around with great sense of humor helps. A good, hearty laughter mimics the effects of a mild workout - your heart rate increases, blood circulation increases! Laughter indeed is the best medicine in general and to living longer, more specifically!!

Love Your Dentist:

For how much we hate dentists, we can't afford to cut them out from our lives. Health studies have established a link between oral hygiene and heart disease. Substances released from inflamed gums into the bloodstream have been shown to play a part in the clogging of arteries. So, floss your teeth regularly, and when needed, don't hesitate to see the dentist.

Say No To Smoking:

The risks of smoking and its adverse impact on longevity and tendency to bring on diseases is well known. If you want to live longer, you certainly can't smoke your way to it! Stay away from friends and colleagues who smoke in your presence as well - passive smoking can do just as much damage to your health, as it does to their health.

Keep A Pet:

If you don't have a good social support system, or even otherwise, it is a good idea to have a pet for company. Having a pet has been shown to add years to your life. The reasons are simple - pets help you relax and bring down your stress levels. Pets can also make you move around and get active. A dog, for example, would keep its owner on his/her toes. Apart from the fun of running after your dog, you get the benefits of exercise in the process.

Getting Regular Health Check-Ups:

A number of potentially life-threatening diseases can be cured if detected early, so don't skip your health check-ups. If you are a woman, do your breast self-examinations and get your Pap smears done. If you are a man, do your testicular exams and get your prostate exams done (usually after age 40) - as your doctor recommends them.

In Conclusion:

Living old need not be living a miserable existence beset with illnesses and ailments of old age. You can live long, in good health, if you follow some of the healthy habits described above. It is never too late to start implementing these habits, but the sooner you start, the better.

© 2010 Shil1978


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