The 9 simple life-hacks to help you live longer (and it’s good news if you like coffee!)
- You could add years onto your life by doing these 10minute activities
- Researchers say ten-minutes of exercise a day extends your life expectancy
- Calling a friend, eating more beans and flossing could also help you live longer
While more of us are living longer compared to our ancestors, life expectancy can seem like it’s all up to winning the genetic lottery.
Our genes, the building blocks of who we are, can give us all sorts of predispositions to a host of medical maladies, including heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
But experts say that making even simple changes to your daily routine from eating more beans to flossing your teeth could add years to your life.
Something simple as doing 10minutes of exercise per day, enjoying some art, or getting some fresh air in a park could have major long-term impacts.
Here, MailOnline reveals some of the simple activities that could extend your life.
Researchers found that if adults between the ages of 40 and 85 did just 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day, it could save 110,000 deaths a year in the US. But that doesn’t need to be a gym workout or a run it can include going for a brisk 10-minute walk, mowing the lawn, going rollerblading or dancing
FLOSS YOUR TEETH
You only get one set of adult teeth, and ensuring you floss your pearly whites could end up making a huge difference to your lifespan.
Flossing removes plaque from teeth — a key contributors to gum disease.
But, according to researchers at Harvard Medical school, preventing gum disease might also help protect against heart disease.
They found that gum disease could contribute to chronic inflammation as the body reacts to continuing presence of plaque in the teeth.
Chronic inflammation is considered a key contributor to atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty plaque, unrelated to that on your teeth, builds up in the arteries.
And a study among elderly people over the age of 80 found those who didn’t floss had a 30 per cent increased risk of death over an average of 9 years according to a study in the Journal of Aging.
However, scientists are still unpicking the exact science of how gum disease and longevity match up.
There are other, unrelated, factors that could explain the association such as smoking status or having an unhealthy diet may explain the association.
It could also be that people who floss regularly are more likely to take care of their health in other ways as well.
The health benefits of getting regular exercise are no secret, but keeping fit can be hard for many people with busy schedules.
But what’s not as well known is that even small bursts of activity can have a big impact.
Exercise helps people keep trim, strengthens bones and muscles, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
And research suggests you don’t have to drag yourself to the gym for hours on end, with just a brief session enough to enjoy some of the benefits.
Elevating your heart rate for just ten minutes a day could be enough to prolong your life, according to a study published in JAMA in 2022.
Researchers estimated that the health benefits from this exercise could prevent up 110,000 deaths a year in the US, if every adult took part.
This doesn’t even need to a high intensity gym workout — it can include going for a brisk 10-minute walk, mowing the lawn, going rollerblading or dancing.
A positive mood can reduce stress-related hormones and increases immune function, according to researchers at the University of Illinois
Happy people don’t just tend to have a more enjoyable life.
Research suggests they also have a longer and healthier one, in comparison to their unhappy peers.
Experts from the University of Illinois found that feeling positive about your life, not being stressed out, and not being depressed contributes to a longer life.
They based their findings on a review of over 160 studies of both humans and animals in 2011, published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.
Researchers also found through lab experiments on humans that a positive mood can reduce stress-related hormones, increases immune function and helps the body recover faster from exertion.
DRINK IN MODERATION
Unsurprisingly, drinking too much is bad for our liver and heart.
But being teetotal isn’t the best, studies also suggest.
In fact, a glass of wine or a beer in the evening could benefit your health.
Experts have found moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
That’s according to a Swedish study published in 2012, anyway.
Researchers found there was a 37 per cent decrease in the risk of rheumatoid arthritis among women who drank less than four glasses of alcohol containing 15g of ethanol per week, roughly equivalent to three-and-half pints of beer or glasses or wine a week.
This was in comparison to those who drank less than one glass a week, slightly under one pint of beer or glass of wine, or those who never drank at all.
And drinking in moderation could also add years to your life, according to a study of 430,016 adults published in Nature in 2022.
It found that men who drink no more than one glass of wine a day could gain nearly a year in life expectancy compared to those who don’t drink at all.
But moderation was the key, with the study showing those who drank more than one glass a day could lose seven years off your life expectancy.
Spending time with your mates, or even just taking the time to message them could give you a longer and healthier life.
That is according to research, at least.
Experts believe spending time with loved ones can relieve stress and encourage people to be more physically active, which has numerous follow-on benefits on your health.
Researchers from Sichuan University West China Hospital looked at data for 28,563 Chinese people who were asked about their socialising habits as part of a long-term study, with answers provided in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Experts believe that spending time with family or friends can relieve stress and encourage people to be more physically active, which has numerous benefits on your health. But a phone call to a loved one can also have the same benefits
The findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, showed that older people who socialised daily, weekly or even monthly had a greater chance of a longer life than those who did not socialise at all.
Meanwhile, social isolation can age you faster than smoking, according to a study from Ageing Journal in 2013.
The Harvard study also highlighted that having positive relationships with friends can keep us healthier and help us live longer.
HAVE A CUPPA
A morning brew could be the secret to living longer, but you’ll have to opt for green tea or coffee.
Drinking green tea at least three times a week is linked to a longer and healthier life, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology in 2020.
Researchers analysed 100,902 participants in China with no history of heart attack, stroke or cancer and found that habitual tea drinkers had having more healthy years.
In comparison to those who did not drink tea habitually, tea drinkers had a 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, taking ten minutes to drink a cup of tea could be the secret to a healthy and long life.
Green tea is a source of polyphenols which protect against cardiovascular disease and its risk factors including high blood pressure.
And there’s good news for coffee lovers.
A study of almost 450,000 Brits between the age of 40 to 69, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology last year, found any amount of coffee consumption was linked to lowered risk of early death.
The best results were seen in the two-to-three cups a day group, who enjoyed a 4 per cent, 27 per cent and 11 per cent lower likelihood of dying if they drank decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, respectively.
While most coffee fans crave a good cup for the caffeine hit, the authors theorised it was other biological components of the drink that gave this protective benefit.
Chemicals in coffee are believed to reduce inflammation and boost the body’s metabolism.
Other studies have delivered similar results, with one of 170,000 Brits in their 50s, finding coffee drinkers who opted for two to four daily cups of coffee had their risk of death from all causes slashed by up to a third.
Enjoying the fresh air and getting out in nature may be a simple way of adding years to your life.
Being outside in nature, whether that’s in a reserve or the park, can make you feel less stressed, boost your self-esteem and improve your mood, according to mental health charity Mind.
Plus, getting outside encourages you to be more active in general which improves your physical health.
Being outside in nature whether that’s in a nature reserve or the park can help reduce stress, boost your self-esteem and improves your mood, according to mental health charity Mind
Green spaces even increase your longevity, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The study analysed data from 100,000 women who were between the ages of 53 and 81 at the time of the study.
They found those who lived in areas with surrounding green spaces had a 12 per cent lower risk of early death from all causes, minus accidents, compared to those who didn’t live in green areas.
Researchers of the 2016 study concluded green spaces contribute to a healthier and longer life thanks to multiple factors.
These included providing more opportunity for physical activity, increase social engagement, improved mental health, and a reduction in exposure to harmful elements like pollution.
Regular visits to art galleries, museums or the theatre has been linked to a longer life, too.
In fact, the more often people engage with the arts, the lower their risk of an early grave, according to findings in a 2019 study published in the BMJ.
Even just taking small amount of time out of your day to draw or listen to your favourite tunes could help.
Researchers at University College London based their findings on data from more than 6,000 adults in England aged 50-plus.
The number of gallery visits, trips to the theatre and concerts were tallied up from the start of the study in 2004.
Study participants were then followed up for an average of 12 years and over this time deaths were recorded using NHS mortality data.
Researchers at UCL found that people who engage with art, live longer. That could be a visit to a gallery, theatre, concerts or drawing
Taking into account economic, health and social factors, researchers found that even those who only went to the theatre or to an art gallery once or twice a year still had a 14 per cent lower risk of an early death than those who didn’t go at all.
EAT MORE VEGETABLES
It might be the most obvious, but eating a healthy and balanced diet is vital for staying fit and avoiding illness.
And it could add up to 10 years on to your life.
Switching your diet to include more beans, peas and lentils and less red meat can add a decade to your life, researchers claimed in a 2022 study published in PLOS medicine.
Researchers found that opting for a diet rich in lentils and beans at the age of 20 could increase life expectancy by over 10 years for the average women and 13 years for the average man.
Eating healthily is also linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease, researchers said.
‘An increase in the intake of legumes, whole grains, and nuts, and a reduction in the intake of red meat and processed meats, contributed most to these gains,’ the researchers concluded.
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