17 November 2018

Eight things you can do right now to live longer

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Life expectancy in the UK has hit a peak. According to the Office for National Statistics, a 65-year-old man today can expect to live for 18.5 more years, while a woman would typically have 20.9 more years left in her. These are only averages, though – lifestyle, diet, weight, genetics and a sunny outlook can all add extra years. Here are some tips to help you live longer.

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Sleep well

From reducing stress to improving your memory and maintaining a healthy heart, the benefits of sleep are plentiful. Getting the right amount, which for most people is around seven to nine hours a night, can also help you live longer, according to a recent study at the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University. But try not to channel your inner teenager too much – weekend lie-ins are OK, but oversleeping has been linked to a litany of medical problems, including diabetes.

Make time to meditate

Meditation is an instant stress buster and can help increase your life expectancy. A recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital asked participants to meditate for 40 minutes a day over an eight-week period and found that people who meditate regularly are less anxious and free from other stress-related afflictions that can speed up the aging process.

Become a social butterfly

Loneliness is associated with mental health and physical health issues. A few years ago, researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah found that social isolation could increase the risk of death by around 30 per cent and be as life threatening as smoking or obesity. So, shut down your laptop and get out there – people who have a healthy social life are 50 per cent more likely to outlive those who don’t.

Drink more water

We all know that drinking clean water is the key to unlocking good health. It almost sounds too easy, but drinking the recommended two litres a day can do wonders for your lifespan. Water can work as part of a weight-loss plan, help power your kidneys and more. Invest in a water-filter system for the home to really reap the benefits of H2O.

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Keep active

Keep on running! Or walking, or swimming, or flying a kite – just keep on doing whatever form of moderate exercise floats your boat and you’ll stay healthy and live longer. Regular exercise can boost your life expectancy by several years, according to a study by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Leading experts recommend taking two-and-a-half hours or more of regular, moderate physical activity a week.

Get your nine a day

We all know it’s vital to get your five-a-day, but why not go the extra mile and bump it up to nine? Harvard Health suggests making subtle dietary changes to increase your fruit and veg intake, such as opting for a vegetable soup or poached pears at mealtimes and adding fruit to your breakfast cereal. Also, don’t forget that frozen fruit and veg are perfectly nutritious.

Drink alcohol – but only in moderation!

It sounds far too good to be true, but you don’t need to be teetotal to live longer. Researchers from the 90+ Study in the US found that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol live longer than those who abstain. This could mean drinking two glasses of beer or wine a night – just steer clear of binge-drinking.

At the end of the day, age is all in the mind

Ask yourself: “How old do I feel?” According to researchers at University College London, people who feel younger than their real age later in life are more likely to live longer. The 2014 study showed that participants who felt at least three years younger were less likely to die during the next eight years than those who felt equal to or older than their actual age. Change your attitude today!

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