As we age, the question of how long we will live and of our own mortal longevity becomes increasingly significant. It begins to pique our interest like a child impatiently asking during a long ride in the car, “Are we there yet?” all the while staying as unknown to most of us as the dark side of the moon. Now while we can at least control what we do in our daily thoughts, some factors affect longevity that is beyond our control, such as genetics and accidents. There are lifestyle factors we can modify to improve our chances of living longer, healthier lives. We will discuss a few of the factors that affect longevity that are key for you to know.
Diet and Nutrition
Studies have consistently found that what we eat plays a major role in how long we live. Food is fuel, and the right fuel can go a long way. In particular, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. On the other hand, a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats links to an increased risk of those same conditions. So, if you want to live longer, it is critical for you to pay attention to what you eat and remember that moderation is the key. If you want to learn more about common diet misconceptions, click here.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Medical Professionals recommend engaging in regular physical activity for numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving cardiovascular health, and maintaining cognitive function. Research has also found physically active people tend to live longer than those who are sedentary. Researchers demonstrated that people who followed the minimum guidelines for physical activity, 150-300 minutes of moderate-intense activity or 75-150 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity, reduced their risk of early death by as high as 21%! We all know that moderate exercise is good for us, and studies have shown that those extra minutes of exercise may help to decrease mortality. Maybe that extra-long walk around the park is not so bad after all.
Maintaining healthy social connections is another significant factor influencing longevity. Social interaction is crucial for our mental health, helping to reduce stress levels, combat depression, and boost overall well-being. Although, we all have the occasional in-law who may be more of a pain than a pleasure! Research has shown that people with strong social networks tend to live longer than isolated people. This longevity might be due to social relationships providing emotional support, encouraging healthy behaviors, and giving a sense of purpose in life. Additionally, being part of a community can offer resources during times of need, helping individuals to manage stress and hardship effectively. When you foster strong relationships with family, friends, and community members, these life choices can contribute to a longer, healthier life.
Mental Health and Mindfulness on Longevity
Mental health plays a vital role in our overall health and longevity. You may have already heard or read that chronic stress, anxiety, and depression link to many health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Experts suggest performing mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance mental clarity, all of which can contribute to a long healthy life. A positive mindset can not only go a long way in the workplace but can also promote longevity. Positive thinking can improve our ability to handle stress, strengthen our immune system, and encourage us to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Final Thoughts on Longevity
The amount of time we have here is and always has been limited. A myriad of factors influence longevity. Some are within our control, and others are not. Focusing on different aspects like the ones reviewed can greatly increase our awareness and improve our chances of living a long and healthy life. By thinking about how long we want to live, how we live, and what we want to live for, we can contribute healthier fuel to ourselves to reach our goals.
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