When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.
Here are 21 ways to live longer:
It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.
2. Drink in moderation
I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity. Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.
3. Reduce stress in your life
Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
4. Watch less television
A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t. It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes. Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.
5. Eat less red meat
Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity. If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.
6. Don’t smoke
This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.
Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity. Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.
8. Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
9. Be optimistic
Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists. Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.