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How to Live Longer with Healthy Habits

Article at a glance

  • Even though aging might be inevitable, you can slow down the effects of aging by focusing on healthy habits that promote longevity.

  • Consider a Blue Zone diet, rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, from an area of the world where people tend to live longer.

  • Learn how to live longer by getting enough sleep, focusing on your mental health, and reducing stress and anxiety.

  • Find hobbies and build connections with family and friends to improve your outlook as you age.

  • Work with your doctor to ensure you stay on top of your health screenings as part of your longevity health plan.

Even though aging is inevitable, you can slow down the impact of aging by living a healthy lifestyle. If you’re wondering how to live longer, the key is establishing healthy habits and sticking with them as you age. Such habits include adopting a longevity diet, living an active lifestyle, and knowing how to manage your stress, all of which can slow down the signs of aging. 

Read on to learn about these and other habits that can keep your mind and body active as you age, which can allow you to fully enjoy your senior years.

Eat a Balanced Longevity Diet

A healthy diet is important throughout your life, but especially as you age. Consider adopting a Blue Zone diet that is rich in whole foods. Wondering what is a Blue Zone? Blue Zones are areas of the world where people tend to live longer. While each region’s diet varies, they all include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. You can find Blue Zone diets that include meat and others that don’t, depending on your preferences.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can also benefit you as you age. Some research indicates that being overweight or obese can speed up the aging process. The National Institute on Aging reports that it can be harder to maintain a healthy weight as you age because your metabolism slows down. Having a healthy body mass index, or BMI, can decrease the risk of common health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. You can better reach and keep a healthy weight by eating reasonable food portions at meals, limiting foods high in fat, and enjoying physical activity such as walking most days of each week.

Limit Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

If you’re designing a longevity health plan, then cut out smoking, which increases your risk of cancer, lung disease, stroke, heart disease, and emphysema. It’s also smart to limit alcohol consumption because older people are more likely to react differently to alcohol, which can increase the risk of falls or injuries. Too much drinking can put you at an increased risk of some cancers and liver disease and can worsen conditions such as osteoporosis and high blood pressure, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Stay Active in Your Longevity Health Plan

Woman walking on the treadmill in the gym

An active lifestyle can also help you as you age, offering benefits for both your physical and mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults ages 65 and older exercise about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for a total of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Strength training workouts are recommended two days a week, along with balance-focused activities that can help you maintain your mobility as you age. 

Engage in Hobbies That Promote Happiness

Focus on your mental health as part of your longevity health plan. Find hobbies that challenge you mentally, help you focus, and keep your mind occupied. Perhaps you can join a book club with friends, or take up a new hobby such as gardening or sketching. Incorporate these hobbies into your daily routine to keep you engaged as you age.

Minimize Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on your longevity. A Yale University study showed that long periods of stress can increase the risk of heart disease and mood disorders. It can also speed up the aging process. So, it’s important to find ways, such as meditating, exercising, or engaging in relaxing hobbies, to reduce your stress and anxiety for your overall health.

Engage with Family and Friends Regularly

Women hugging and laughing in the park

A fulfilling social life can also help boost your longevity. Spending quality time with family and friends can improve your outlook and keep you active as you age. Strong, connected relationships with family and friends can also help ease your stress or anxiety.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Older man smiling while sleeping

A good night’s sleep is important as you age. Older adults don’t necessarily need more sleep, but they may have more interrupted sleep cycles due to discomfort or medications that might make it harder to fall asleep. Focus on getting at least seven hours of sleep a night so that you’re alert and refreshed and ready to take on the next day.

Stay on Top of Health Screenings

Regular health screenings help increase your longevity too, so always schedule your checkups when you’re due for them. Schedule an annual wellness exam with your primary care doctor, where you can have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, as well as ensure you’re up to date on your vaccines. Your doctor can also help you determine when you should be screened for diabetes or osteoporosis, or help you set up other preventive screenings such as mammograms or colonoscopies.

Your longevity health plan should consider all aspects of your physical and mental health. Finding ways to keep your body active and designing a longevity diet inspired by the Blue Zones can help you extend your overall health as you age. Furthermore, building social connections, choosing engaging hobbies, and decreasing stress and anxiety can also help you enjoy healthy and active senior years. Follow these tips to build healthy habits that can benefit you every day as you age. A healthier lifestyle can set you up for a long and happy life.

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