6 hours ago
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Okay, fine, maybe my upcoming birthday had a tiny bit to do with my preoccupation with evading mortality for as long as possible. But the good news is that, after thousands of studies, involving millions of people in every country of the world, it turns out that the habits and behaviors that result in longer lifespans are all pretty instinctual, obvious and attainable. If you have a few minutes you should do this free Life Expectancy Calculator (it's kind of fun, and I like it because it said I would live to 102, which even I think is a little optimistic- imagine all the blog posts!). Since it seems I've already got good habits anyway, I'm happily well on my way to being one of those motorcycle-riding, skydiving nonogenarians (as long as I don't risk riding motorcycles or skydiving until then). Bring on the birthdays!
9 Healthy Habits to Help You Live Forever (Or A Really Long Time)
1. Don't Smoke. This could not be more obvious, but since I still see tons of people puffing away at all hours of the day, I suppose it bears mentioning. Look, I'd be lying if I pretended that I have never enjoyed a smoke in my day- I know that pleasant tingly buzz, and I get why you like it. But it makes your hair and clothes stink, takes 14 years off your life expectancy (I need those 14 years!), and gives you yellow teeth and wrinkles. And I can't have either of those things, if I am going to look as good as (now deceased) former World's Oldest Woman Yone Minagawa (above) on my own 114th birthday.
2. Keep Active. Do something physical every single day (this is one example where garbage men and construction workers have the leg up on the rest of us). If your job forces you to sit in a chair all day, make a concerted effort to take a brisk walk at lunch, or sign up for an evening tap dancing class. It only takes 30 minutes a day, and will add at least 3-4 years to your life. Bonus points if you spend at least 15 minutes outdoors- unfiltered sunlight provides vitamin D, which is essential for long life.
3. Eat Your Veggies (and Fruits). Eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day (your morning OJ counts as a serving, and a salad for lunch could count as two) greatly increases your longevity. French fries don't count. Limit your red meat intake and try to eat more fish. Cut out the soda, artificial sweeteners and trans fats.
4. Take a Multivitamin. Make sure you are getting your daily recommended intake of vitamins C, D, and E especially. It's so easy, and makes a huge difference. Why not?
5. Don't Drink Too Much. But a little is okay (and may even be good for you, if it's red wine).
6. Love And Be Loved. Studies show that people who have in-person interactions with family and close friends at least three times a week live significantly longer than those who don't. And if you're not a people-person, even having a pet who likes you adds years to your life.
7. Have Fun. It seems laughter really is the best medicine- in fact, no other personality factor is more strongly correlated with life expectancy than sense of humor. Good thing, because I don't think I would want to live to 102 if I had to be somber the whole time.
8. Floss. It prevents gum and heart disease, and can add anywhere from 1.5 to 7 years to your life. Seriously.
9. Everything in Moderation (Including Moderation). Anecdotal evidence shows that among the longest-living people, they all tend to share the philosophy of "live a little." So, keep your daily habits on the straight-and-narrow, but, every once in a while, give yourself permission to ignore the rules. Eat a second piece of pie, spend a day lounging on the couch, or go to bed without flossing if it makes you feel good. Just remember to take the stairs and brush extra well the next day.
Totally do-able, right? Now I've gotta go figure out what I am going to write about until 2083...