Looking to live a longer, better life? You’re not alone!
For centuries, countless people have tried to crack the elusive longevity code. What does it take to not only achieve a long life, but to do your best to live each and every day to the fullest? What’s the secret to happiness, health, and a life well lived?
While it’s true that there’s no single “golden ticket” to having a longer, better lifespan, there are lots of small changes you can make each day to increase your chances of living longer, and to feel more satisfied along every step of life’s journey!
1.) Have a Positive Outlook
What are all of the ways that you can think positively? What are the little things you can do every day to make yourself feel happier and more fulfilled? Unlocking the answers to these important questions could mean uncovering the secret to a longer, healthier life!
Get this: A recent Yale University study examined more than 4,700 people with an average age of 72, who all carried a gene variation linked to dementia. Of this group, people who had “positive attitudes” about aging were found to be 50 percent less likely to develop the disorder, as compared to those who viewed getting older with pessimism or fear.
A positive outlook could really mean better health, and a longer, more fulfilling life! And besides helping you to live longer, making little choices — like letting go of the past, living in the moment, and opening yourself up to new experiences — can help you lead a more engaged life every day.
Why not try mindfulness meditation as a way to get started? This practice has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive, optimistic feelings. Check out our guide to meditation right here.
2.) Build Lasting Relationships
When The Beatles sang about getting by with a little help from their friends, they were really onto something!
Building a strong, supportive network of friends and family can help you feel more connected to the world around you. Even better? Besides filling up your days with laughs and love, being social seems to offer major health benefits.
In fact, a 2017 study of more than 270,000 people found that individuals ranked their friendships “as reliably strong predictors of how happy and healthy they felt.” People with more valuable friendships reported “better functioning” overall, both physically and mentally.
Looking for a great way to reinforce your friendships? Health and wellness writer John Fawkes offers this tip:
“Every time you log onto Facebook, send a message to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. It’s easy to put off getting in touch with old friends you’ve been meaning to reconnect with. This habit makes staying in touch almost automatic.”
3.) Live Passionately
Could living life with more vigor and verve help you stay healthy, for longer?
One study from the American Aging Association sure seems to say so. The study analyzed nearly 300 people aged around 100 years old, and found that those who have “robust temperaments” adapt well to the challenges of “later life.” In other words? People who actively engage with every part of life may just live longer!
And then there are all of the other ways that you can inject a little passion in your life, if you know what we mean.
For example? Being sexually active has been linked to higher rates of life satisfaction, and has shown to have major health benefits for both men and women. And really, it might just be the intimacy of it all that really makes a difference. As health guru Keri Glassman explains over at Nutritious Life:
“Oxytocin, a hormone that acts as an antioxidant, is released during sex, a cuddle with your pet, or holding hands.”
So don’t hesitate to show a little love or affection to the people around you!
4.) Stay Active
Want to live a longer life — and feel better every day? Then get moving!
At least, that’s what health and fitness professionals recommend. And there’s never a wrong time to start getting more active! There are exercises and fitness routines perfect for all age groups, from five to 95. (We break down the right exercises by age in this post!)
Adding more movement to your day helps improve your endurance, strengthens your muscles and bones, and helps lift your spirits. And studies show that even a little bit of extra activity can make a huge difference for your long-term health!
In fact, a 2016 study found that elderly people who exercised for just 15 minutes a day had a 22 percent lower risk of early death compared to people who did not exercise. Similarly, a 2017 study found that exercising even just two days a week can lower risk for premature death.
What’s the right way for you to get going? Here are a few of our past articles that may help you decide on the right course:
- “The Amazing Health Benefits of Swimming”
- “How to Get Ready for a 5K, 10K, or Marathon”
- “How to Stay Physically Active and Enjoy Life Post-Retirement”
5.) Cut Out Bad Habits
People who try new things and continue to push themselves mentally and physically tend to report having longer lifespans and happier days, according to Harvard Health.
And while expanding your horizons is important, it can be just as meaningful to cut out harmful habits. A big one, according to Harvard, is smoking, which can contribute to heart disease, osteoporosis, chronic lung problems, and stroke. Over time, smoking regularly also makes it harder to breathe during exercise, and may even “compromise memory, too,” according to Harvard.
But there is good news! Giving up on this habit, at any time, can have a positive impact on your health. As Harvard Health explains:
“After a smoker quits, the risk of heart disease begins to drop within a few months, and in five years, it matches that of someone who never smoked. Stroke risk drops to equal that of a nonsmoker within two to four years after a smoker quits, according to one study . . . At any age, quitting progressively cuts your risk of dying from cancer related to smoking, although this drop is most marked in those who quit before age 50.”
6.) Strive for Balance
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself live a healthier, happier, and longer life may be as simple – and, perhaps as tough – as living more consciously.
Over at Nutritious Life, Glassman puts it very well:
“Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. We so often forget to take the time to care for ourselves. The time that you spend caring for yourself physically can reap huge mental and physical rewards.”
Taking care of yourself can take all kinds of forms! Being mindful of decluttering your living or work space is one great place to start. Or what about practicing replenishment as a way to step into a state of flow? We tend to make things harder than they need to be. Staying fulfilled and replenished could really be as simple as staying hydrated, getting more sleep, and finding the right nutritionally balanced diet for you.
7.) Throw Away the Lists!
Finally, here’s one important thing to keep in mind, courtesy of Howard Friedman, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and a leading voice on longevity. As he recently told TIME:
“The most important advice we offer people about longevity is, ‘Throw away your lists.’ We live in a self-help society full of lists: ‘lose weight, hit the gym.’ So why aren’t we all healthy? People who live a long time can work hard and play hard.”
In other words? There’s no such thing as a guaranteed way to live longer, or better. There are a lot of important things to keep in mind, but everyone’s journey to health and longevity is going to be different.
Living passionately, working for daily balance, finding ways to become more active — these will all look and feel different for everyone. At the end of the day, this is your life, and your personal journey.
8.) Know That You’re Covered
Whatever life throws your way, wouldn’t it be easier to know that you’re protected? That’s where health and life insurance come in.
Finding the right coverage for your lifestyle and budget can make a world of difference — helping you be prepared for the worst, while you live for the best! Whether you’re interested in group health, individual plans, or Medicare Supplement insurance, the Enrollment Specialists can help you find the right policy for wherever your journey takes you.
We don’t believe in cookie-cutter care, and we will take steps to truly get to know you and what makes you special. From there, our health and life insurance superhero Matt Peebles will help you customize the right plan for your needs, making sure your costs are minimized while your coverage is at its peak!
And even better? Whenever you need help or have any questions for the entire life of your policy, Matt and the Enrollment Specialists team will always be just a phone call or email away — no call centers or online chatbots required.
Curious about your health and life insurance options? Want to know what it takes to get covered for every stage of life? Drop us a line today to keep the conversation going!