So, you’ve figured it out and in order to be able to tick everything off your bucket list, you’ll need a minimum of 90 years on the planet – and preferably a century. But how can you go about ensuring you can enjoy a long and healthy life?
Image credit: Centenarian
Well, I can’t help you to avoid any freak accidents, but there are a few things you can do to make yourself fitter and increase your lifespan – and hopefully get some cards for your 100th birthday. Additionally of course, it’s more about quality than quantity and the tips below should also help you to lead a younger life.
After all, there are plenty of 70 years old who can run marathons and plenty of 50 years who can barely walk to the shops – which one would you rather be?
Turn off the TV
Are you addicted to soaps? If you watch them all, you could be in big trouble. If you’re over 25, every hour of television that you watch could bring your death 22 minutes closer. According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the sedentary lifestyle that TV encourages can be as damaging to our health as smoking. And if you’re doing that too, read on…
We know, we know – you’ve heard it all before. You know that smoking damages your lungs, liver, skin – heck, pretty much every organ in your body – but you still do it, despite the fact that it shortens your lifespan. However, do you know how quickly your body can recover if you quit?
In just two weeks, you’ll see an improvement in your circulation, and your lung function will increase by up to ten per cent in as little as three months. Five years down the line, your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker. After ten years, the chances of you getting lung cancer have halved – and the risk of you having a heart attack are the same as someone who has never smoked.
All of this means that even if you have smoked for the last 20 years, it’s not too late to reap huge benefits from quitting. Even if you are already 60 years old, now is the time.
If you’re sleep deprived, it’s not necessarily just your workmates that are suffering from your grouchy mood – you could actually be damaging your health. Average at less than six hours per night, and you could end up with diabetes or even become obese, and studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to an early death.
However, heavy sleepers – as in, people who sleep for nine hours or more per night – may also have problems. Unlike sleep deprivation, it isn’t thought that too much sleep can cause problems, but it could be a symptom of ill health. Make sure that you are checked out by a doctor if this sounds like you to make sure that there are no underlying issues.
Get some exercise
We all know that exercise is good for us, but were you aware of how much it can increase your lifespan? The National Cancer Institute in Maryland, USA, found in a study that if you complete 75 minutes of intense exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, each week then you could increase your life expectancy by 3.4 years – and if you manage twice that amount of exercise, that figure rises to 4.2 years.
If you’re not able to exert yourself that much, don’t worry – a half hour walk, at a brisk pace, three times a week can increase your aerobic power by 12% after just one year, and therefore improve your fitness level, and life expectancy to boot.
Of course, it’s not just the extra 3.4 years – active people stay active for longer and you also get the benefit of having better circulation, bone density and better energy levels which means that if you get more active now, you might still be active well into your retirement.
Fish are seen as a superfood, and it’s with good reason. Oily fish such as salmon contain Omega 3 fatty acids that are fantastic for your heart – in fact, eating fish once or twice a week can reduce the risk of you having a fatal heart attack by up to a third. And not only that, but our scaly friends have been linked to a reduction in the risk of certain types of cancer. Just try not to watch Finding Nemo while you dine.
Eat your vitamins
There’s a reason your mother didn’t let you leave the table before finishing your vegetables. Vitamins are vital for a well-rounded diet, and a few are especially important for ensuring you live a long and healthy life. Calcium can reduce the risk of osteperosis, and Vitamin B12 could help to prevent dementia. In addition, folic acid can reduce the risk of you contracting colon cancer.
However, it’s not a great idea to start gulping down dozens of multivitamin tablets every day. In the best case scenario it could simply be useless as an excess in some vitamins just leads to them being excreted by the body rather than transforming you into a superhero, while the worst case scenario could see you damaging your liver. Consult your doctor for advice before starting a course of supplements.
About The Author: Hi there, my name is Sarah. I work for Freedom Health. I am obsessed with health and fitness and I like to live my life as healthily as possible. I like to look after my health and I want to live to at least 100!