In the past, people used to believe that life expectancy was set from the beginning, determined by genetics or simply time. However, as experts learn more about the human mind and body, they’ve realized that we have more control over our lives than was previously thought.
Experts have identified certain lifestyle habits and behaviors that can increase your longevity and lead to a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Franklin Park® Senior Living offers luxury retirement and senior living services throughout San Antonio, Texas. We encourage individuals to take control of their lives and health by implementing these simple healthy habits to promote wellness and increase longevity.
1. Eat Clean and Green
Many diets have come and gone throughout history, ranging from the basic to the downright absurd. However, one of the best diets for promoting health and increasing longevity is a simple one of whole, clean, and plant-based foods. This includes limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and pastries and cakes and eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
It can be intimidating to change your diet, but you can take small steps with easy alternatives to start healthier habits!
- Replace all white carbs with whole grains. This includes bread, pasta, and rice.
- Swap salty potato chips for nuts or popcorn.
- Switch sugary energy drinks with coffee or tea.
- Instead of frozen pizzas, which are high in calories and sodium, make your own pizza with whole wheat crust and fresh veggies.
2. Stay Active
In addition to having a balanced diet, physical activity is arguably the most important thing you can do for your health. Daily exercise has countless benefits—enhancing mood and creativity, preventing chronic disease, and ultimately increasing longevity.
Incorporating exercise into your life doesn’t mean you have to start running marathons. Experts recommend aiming for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, which equates to about 30 minutes of brisk walking, bicycling, or any other moderate movement a day. As an easy way to get started, ask a friend to join you for a walk around the neighborhood every day!
3. Practice Positive Thinking
The power of positivity is stronger than you might think. A recent study found that having a positive outlook on life can result in an 11-15% longer (and healthier) lifespan—reducing stress and anxiety, lowering heart rate, and improving resiliency. Embracing and cultivating optimism isn’t as hard as it sounds, either. Here are some tips to get started:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down three things that you are grateful for.
- Surround yourself with other positive people. It’s amazing how much the habits and personalities of those you spend time with can reflect on you.
- Embrace positive mantras. Repeating to yourself positive affirmations such as “I can handle whatever comes my way” and “I will have a good day today” can help you embrace a mindset of optimism and positive thinking.
4. Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Another important habit to adopt for increasing longevity is to take a preventive approach to healthcare. According to the CDC, every year, 7 out of 10 U.S. deaths are caused by a chronic disease—most of which can be prevented with healthy habits and early detection.
Preventative healthcare means visiting your doctor regularly (typically once a year) and staying up-to-date on all vaccines, scans, and exams. These check-ups are especially important if you are high-risk for certain diseases.
5. Stay Social Engaged
There is evidence that having a robust social circle can increase longevity by up to 50%, resulting in a longer, happier, and more connected life. In addition, making socialization and relationships a priority can result in a stronger immune system, lower levels of stress and anxiety, and even a reduced risk of dementia—all of which contribute to a longer and more fulfilling life.
6. Get Some Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential in physical and mental well-being. Sleep allows your body to rest and restore itself, but it also has the added benefits of supporting the immune system, boosting mood, and helping reduce heart disease and obesity. However, in today’s fast-paced world of screens and productivity, getting the recommended amount of sleep is a challenge for many people. Here are some tips on how to catch those beneficial Z’s:
- Try to stick to a schedule. If possible, go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day.
- Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
- Create a calming environment. Making sure your bedroom is optimized for sleeping can aid in a restful slumber. This varies for some people but typically consists of a quiet, cool, and dark space.
- Have a nighttime routine that calms and relaxes you. This could be taking an evening bath, reading a book, or listening to music. Try to limit screen time right before bed.
Take Control of Your Life
Increasing your life expectancy may seem like something out of your control, but taking care of yourself through a healthy diet, exercise, proper sleep, and important relationships has a more extensive influence than you might realize. By taking control of your life and wellness, you can increase your health, happiness, and longevity.
Franklin Park® Senior Living offers luxury senior living services in San Antonio, Texas. We are passionate about providing valuable information and resources about healthy aging, senior living, and caregiver wellness. To explore our articles, visit the Franklin Park® blog.