Aging: Secrets for a Longer Life

People tend to think that they will live forever when they are young. However, as individuals age, they often become more concerned about living longer and ensuring that they are healthy and happy during their time on Earth. While there’s no Fountain of Youth that will allow someone to stay young forever, there’s a lot that individuals can do to lengthen their lifespan.

Physical Health
The cornerstone of most plans for living longer involve making sure that someone’s body is in good shape. People who are in good physical health are less likely to develop medical conditions, and if someone does get sick, they are in a better position to recover. Staying in good health generally requires that individuals eat right, keep moving and avoid alcohol and cigarettes.

When it comes to eating right, it may be a good idea to follow in the footsteps of the Mediterraneans or the Japanese. A Mediterranean diet, which focuses on fruit, vegetables, fish and olive oil, has been shown in a variety of studies to reduce someone’s risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Alternatively, people may want to emulate the eating habits of those living in Okinawa, Japan, who have a low-calorie diet based on yellow and green vegetables. Many believe this diet contributed to the fact that the region once had the longest lifespan of any place in the world.

Along with eating right, staying at a healthy weight and being active can also have a significant effect on someone’s lifespan. There’s no set way to do it, but it is recommended that people engage in at least two and a half hours of exercise per week, even if it is done in short bursts. However, it’s important that individuals are careful when they are on the move. Accidents are the fifth most common cause of death, and wearing helmets while biking and seat-belts in the car can reduce someone’s chances of being killed or severely harmed in an accident.

Mental and Emotional Health
While keeping a person’s body in good condition is essential, people shouldn’t forget the importance of their mental health. Stress and depression can have physical effects on people, so it’s important be aware of and deal with both. Some of the best ways to ensure that a person is well-balanced mentally are to have friends, manage stress and live a life with purpose.

Friends can do more than just be there for a person or join them when they go out; they can also help people live longer. A study of older individuals found that people with active social lives had a lower chance of death over a 10 year period. However, someone’s choice of friends can also be important. People tend to pick up the habits of those they spend time with, and research shows that an individual’s chance of being overweight increases by 57 percent if a friend becomes obese.

By dealing with stress, people may be able to prevent heart disease. While it may not be something that can be avoided, stress is something that can be managed. Taking naps regularly may help lower stress levels by reducing stress hormones. Additionally, a recent study, involving 24,000 participants, indicates that people who take naps on a regular basis are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease.

Living a life with meaning can also help a person live longer. Research has shown that people who have a sense of purpose are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Further, a 13 year study of Japanese men found that those with a strong sense of purpose were less likely to die of stroke or heart disease.