Practical ways to live longer (Part II)
I intend to live forever. So far, so good. Steven Wright
In April last year we wrote Practical ways to live longer (Part I) which gave a series of suggestions for how we can proactively work now towards a longer, healthier life. Today Happiness Weekly is releasing the second part of this blog – for no other reason other than life is beautiful and we want to be here to enjoy it for as long as we possibly can!
Don’t define yourself by numbers
Ditch the scales, stop looking at your bank account, realise that only you care about your dress size. Fortunately for us, these numbers do not create our worth – so don’t use them as a guide because it will create unnecessary stress.
Studies have shown that strength training twice a week for 30 minutes can actually make your body 15 to 20 years younger in terms of restoring the muscle mass and regaining bone density. Remember there’s no need to turn yourself into the incredible hulk with all the protein shakes though – these may not be so good for prolonging life!
Keep an even mood
Research by US psychologist Dr Howard Friedman and Dr Leslie Martin found children that are cheerful are less likely to live to an old age. It is thought that relentlessly happy people may be prone to underestimate risks to their health and thereby fail to take precautions or follow medical advice.
Don’t fake it – smile authentically
The more authentic your smile and the broader you smile, the longer you will live. Smiling triggers the release of chemicals that can make you feel happier, even if you’re faking it. Better still, laughing boosts levels of infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells. A good laugh can improve blood flow by more than 20% and possibly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Instead of avoiding stress, find a job that challenges you – hard work and accomplishment is a strong predictor of long life. Studies have shown that those with the most career success are the least likely to die young. Also wait five more years to retire – Greek researchers have discovered it decreases mortality rate during that period by 10%!
People who stop lying after instructed have been found to have significant health improvements in just ten weeks, with fewer mental health complaints – such as tension and fewer physical complaints – such as migraines and headaches. Lying triggers stress hormones that increase heart rate and breathing, slow digestion and cause tension and hypersensitivity in muscles and nerve fibres.
Enjoy a glass of red wine each night
A glass of red wine could reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and the slow progression of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease due to the flavonoids and resveratrol compounds it contains. Be cautious though, just two glasses more could put you at increased risk of developing mouth, throat, oesophagus, breast and bowel cancer.
Don’t eat peanuts
If you’re looking to keep your weight down: avoid eating peanuts! Just 100g of peanuts is 622 calories which will take an hour of swimming to burn off! If you’re looking for a healthy snack, you’re safer eating a few almonds or better still celery, carrots and capsicum.
Work on your relationship with your parents
Studies have shown those who aren’t particularly close to their parents end up developing high blood pressure, alcoholism or heart disease by mid-life. A closer relationship will promote survival by putting you at less risk of developing these conditions.
Fight it out
Arguing may not be much fun, but suppressed anger can cause high blood pressure, insomnia, heart problems and increased risk of cancer. Studies show that people who suppress their anger are 25% more likely to die early.
People who play golf live an average of five years longer than non-golfers which may be because they’re outside for four to five hours at a time and they walk six to seven kilometres. Yoga is also recommended as when it’s combined with moderate aerobic exercise and diet control it can reduce cholesterol and reverse hardening of the arteries by up to 20%!
Chew your food
Chewing your food carefully will assist with weight loss but it may also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by half – which could be because chewing your food helps to break it down, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.
Have a family
Men who are unable to conceive are twice as likely to die early from circulatory disease, cancers and accidents, while women without children are four times more at risk. Adoption may also reduce the risk – so the family doesn’t necessarily need to be by blood.
Don’t watch television
Every hour of television you watch after you turn 25 could shave 22 minutes off your lifespan according to scientists at the US National Cancer Institute. Instead of watching television, get out and go for a walk or take up a sport or other activity – muscles that aren’t used properly will raise the risk of illness and premature death.
Learn a language
The ability to speak two or more languages significantly slows the onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s by creating a greater brain reserve.
Whether you are religious or spiritual, the gods you believe in want to keep you here longer than your atheist friends. Studies have shown a positive correlation between religious belief and good health. Whether this is due to the better levels of social support provided within religious communities or divine intervention is still not known.
Do you have any strategies that could help you live longer that weren’t mentioned in part I or part II of this blog? Please leave your comment below.