People have been trying unsuccessfully to unlock the secret of long life for thousands of years now. However, recent scientific studies have shown great insight into what it takes to live a long, healthy life. A couple of generations ago, life beyond 80 seemed unlikely for most. With advances in medical and health science, we have been able to lengthen our lives much more by being able to combat common ailments which otherwise proved fatal.
Nevertheless, it is our lifestyle that eventually makes the difference between a long, healthy life and a short one. Also, if you are worried about longevity because your grandparents did not live long enough, then you can stop worrying because research shows that only 20% of life expectancy is determined by lifestyle and environment.
Tips for Longer Life
It is extremely necessary to improve the quality of your lifestyle and health if you wish to extend your life expectancy. An extended but unsatisfactory life is not desirable. Studies have shown that the below-given lifestyle habits can effectively help you live a longer and more fruitful life.
Here are the top 4 mantras for longer life:
1. Keep your weight in check
Body mass index (BMI) and body weight play an important role in leading a healthy lifestyle. Every excess kilo you put on increases the pressure on your organs. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy BMI is between 18.5 kg to 24.9 kg of a person’s ideal weight. According to this standard, a person who is between 18.5 kg to 24.9 kg within their ideal BMI are considered to have normal weight, people with weight over 25 kg to 29.9 kg over ideal body weight are considered to be overweight whereas those who are 30+ kg over their ideal weight limit are considered to be obese.
Studies have shown that people whose BMI puts them into the overweight and obese categories are at a higher risk of developing ailments, such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, and other chronic diseases. Research shows that people who are lean and physically active have the lowest risk of developing chronic diseases and mortality.
However, studies by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) have also shown that lean people also develop such ailments, especially when there is a lack of regular physical activity in their daily routine.
Also, abdominal fat is classified as the most harmful kind of fat. The subcutaneous type of abdominal fat accumulates just beneath the skin and does not cause much harm. However, visceral fat is the more dangerous type of abdominal fat. The fat cells secrete metabolic enzymes in the heart, pancreas, and other organs. As these organs are not designed to store fat, they can create dysfunction and cause problems with your blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol levels.
To keep healthy body weight, it is necessary to keep the hip-to-weight ratio within acceptable limits. You can calculate your hip-to-weight ratio by measuring your abdomen around the navel in a relaxed pose and then measure your hips at the widest point. When you divide your waist size by your hip size, you can successfully find your hip-to-weight ratio. A healthy ratio should be less than 0.8 and not higher.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise has proven to be an effective way to keep your BMI in check. This is an excellent way to enhance your lifespan. Ask anyone in their 80s and 90s who is active and they will tell you that they “move naturally” every day. Moving naturally means being physically active as much as possible. For instance, choosing to walk instead of using a vehicle or simply doing household chores, to remain active is counted as moving naturally.
Excessive exercising is actually harmful when it comes to preserving your body as it can lead to damaged joints, backache, and other similar problems. Besides, regular light exercise also helps keep your brain fresh and alert throughout the day.
3. Have a healthy, balanced diet
Eating healthy can definitely help you lead a longer life. Eating a healthy diet helps to keep your body fat and weight in check. It also provides you with the essential nutrients that help to lengthen your life.
A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, friendly fats, and calcium is ideal. Dieticians recommend consuming at least two fruits and two vegetables every day. Choose a mixture of different types of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet so you can ensure optimal intake of the essential nutrients.
Dieticians also recommend cutting down consumption of red meat and replacing it instead with white chicken or fish, twice a week. It is also advised to avoid overcooking meats as this may cause a rise of carcinogens in the diet. Eating plant-based proteins, such as nuts and beans consists of a healthy diet whereas meat products should not be consumed more than five times a month.
It goes without saying that to make your healthy diet effective it is important to stay away from habit-causing beverages and food. For instance, consumption of alcohol, even occasionally can hamper the quality of life and health of the individual.
4. Develop social connections
A healthy mind makes for a healthy body. So, to live a longer life it is essential to maintain strong relationships and social connections. Maintaining a strong social connection with the faith and community is also very important to live a long life.
Research studies have also proven the crucial nature that social connections play in improving quality of life. Studies have shown that maintaining strong relationships with family and keeping a tight-knit social circle works to strengthen the quality of life and add to longevity, apart from lowering the blood pressure, building a stronger immune system, and reducing inflammation in many cases.
The four mantras for a healthy, long life require you to keep your weight in check, do light exercises daily, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and maintain strong relationships and social connections.