In today’s world most people want to live to a ripe old age and will do almost anything to slow down the aging process. One of the biggest factors that determines how well you age is not your genes but how well you actually live and take care of yourself from day to day. A recent study of 20,000 British folks was published in the British Medical Journal and it showed that you can cut your risk of having a stroke in half by doing the following four things: being active for 30 minutes a day, eating five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, and avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol.
Although those are some of the obvious steps you can take to age well, researchers have discovered that centenarians tend to share certain traits in how they eat, move about, and deal with stress, which are the sort of things we can emulate to improve our own aging process. Bear in mind that getting to age 100 is enormously more likely if your parents did. Still, researchers believe that assuming you’ve sidestepped genes for truly fatal diseases like Huntington’s, there’s nothing stopping you from living independently well into your 90s. so go ahead and shoot for those triple digits. Follow these 10 habits, and give yourself a shot at shooting for those triple digits.
Health Habit 1:- Don’t retire, stay active
Luigi Ferrucci, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging says, “Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement.” There is a region in Italy known as the Chianti region which has a high number of centenarians. This is because when they retire they spend most of their time working on their little farms cultivating grapes and vegetables. So when you reach retirement age, find something to do that will keep you active and be worth your while.
Health Habit #2:- Floss every day
I was just as puzzled as you when I first heard this one! Believe it or not, but flossing everyday keeps your arteries healthy. A study in 2008 by New York University showed that daily flossing reduced the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is thought to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease. Other research has shown that those who have high amounts of bacteria in their mouth are more likely to have thickening of the arteries, another sign of heart disease.
Health Habit #3:- Exercise
Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago says “Exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists.” It’s like the oil and lube job for your car. You don’t have to do it, but your car will definitely run better.” Numerous studies have documented the benefits of exercise to improve your mood, mental acuity, balance, muscle mass, and bones. Don’t worry if you’re not a gym rat. Those who see the biggest payoffs are the ones who go from doing nothing to simply walking around the neighbourhood or local mall for about 30 minutes a day. Building muscle with resistance training is also ideal, but yoga classes can give you similar strength training effects if you’re not into weight lifting.
Health Habit #4:- Get at least six hours of sleep
Instead of skimping on sleep to add more hours to your day, get more sleep to add years to your life. “Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells,” says Ferrucci. It’s calculated that the minimum number of hours of REM sleep needed is about six hours. So if you want to reach the century mark your sleep should be a priority.
Health Habit #5:- Eat whole foods, not supplements
Strong evidence suggests that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients—selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E—age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that taking pills with these nutrients provides those anti-aging benefits. “There are more than 200 different carotenoids and 200 different flavonoids in a single tomato,” points out Ferrucci, “and these chemicals can all have complex interactions that foster health beyond the single nutrients we know about like lycopene or vitamin C.” Avoid refined, nutrient-lacking white foods (breads, flour, sugar) and go for all those colourful fruits and vegetables and dark whole-grain breads and cereals with their host of hidden nutrients.
Health Habit #6:- Be a creature of habit
Centenarians tend to live by strict routines, says Olshansky, eating the same kind of diet and doing the same kinds of activities their whole lives. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is another good habit to keep your body in the steady equilibrium that can be easily disrupted as you get on in years. “Your physiology becomes frailer when you get older,” explains Ferrucci, “and it’s harder for your body to bounce back if you, say, miss a few hours of sleep one night or drink too much alcohol.”
Health Habit #7:- Live like a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA)
Americans who define themselves as Seventh Day Adventists have an average life expectancy of 89, about a decade longer than the average American. One of the basic beliefs of the religion is that it’s important to cherish the body that’s on loan from God, which means no smoking, alcohol abuse, or overindulging in sweets. Followers typically stick to a vegetarian diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, and get plenty of exercise. SDA’s are also very focused on family and community activities.
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