What if I told you that I can add 10 years to your lifespan? Who wouldn’t want an extra decade?! There are lots of things that you can do to help improve your longevity and, short of old wives’ tales, they’re pretty straightforward to accomplish. With a few tweaks to your daily routine, you can help extend your longevity and live a healthier, more well-rounded life.
Make sure that you…
Practise good dental hygiene
The plaque that builds up on your teeth and gumline is the same plaque that can clog up arteries around your heart and cause cardiovascular issues. Ensure that you maintain your dental well-being to help keep up your overall health – brush and floss daily and keep regular, standing appointments with your dentist. In fact, studies show that flossing and brushing your teeth can add more than five years to your life expectancy.
Manage your stress
Stress is a silent killer – it contributes to a whole host of issues, including headaches, digestive problems, high blood pressure and problems with sex and sleep. Stress can also lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks or other types of anxiety and worry. If stress is something that is affecting you on a regular basis, it’s important that you find healthy ways to deal with it. These could include altering your diet and exercise, trying relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, reconnecting with friends, or even seeing a professional therapist. Science Daily reported that being under heavy stress shortens life expectancies of both men and women, specifically in men by 2.8 years. Now that you know this, you can get those almost three years back.
There are lots of experts who will suggest certain exercises or workouts to help improve strength, balance, heart health and more. But what it all boils down to is this: you’ve got to move around. One of the biggest factors that contribute to a long and healthy life is getting some form of physical exercise. Whether you “mall walk” every day, set aside 20-30 minutes for some light cardio, go on a bike ride, take your dog around the block, golf, play a game of tennis, chase the grandkids around the playground – it’s all about moving. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Exercise provides a remarkable variety of health benefits, which range from strengthening bones to positive effects on mood and helping to prevent chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Research dating back to the late 1980s has consistently shown that aerobic fitness may help extend lives.”
How important is sleep? Well, the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network, the Canadian Sleep Society, Fondation Sommeil and Wake-up Narcolepsy Canada joined forces two years ago to launch Dormez là-dessus – Sleep on it!, a bilingual Canadian campaign to promote the importance of sleep in maintaining good health. They say that sleep plays a huge role in the preservation of the immune system and helps to regulate almost all of the functions of our body, from brain, heart and lung activity to our metabolism and endocrine system. During sleep, the brain also removes the metabolic waste which it produces during the day.
Did you know that one in two adults has trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, one in five adults does not find his or her sleep refreshing and one in three adults has difficulty staying awake during waking hours?
The Government of Canada has made basic recommendations for sleep based on age, and these are seven-nine hours a night for ages 18-64 and seven-eight for those who are 65 and older.
Quality sleep is paramount. Make sure that you have a comfortable bed, follow a bedtime routine so that your body is ready for sleep time and avoid things such as alcohol, caffeine and screen time before bed.
Everything in moderation
We’ve heard this since we were young, and it couldn’t be truer as we get older: enjoy everything in moderation. That means limiting unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol, cutting back on fatty and salty foods and avoiding too many lazy days. Don’t get us wrong: you deserve to enjoy your life and have a few “indulgences” once in awhile but, if you want to add a few more years to your life, then it’s all about knowing your limits and sticking to them.