“Everyone wishes to have a long life”
Oh! Let me correct that statement.
“Everyone wishes to have a long and healthy life.”
That’s better. Every person on this planet wishes to lead a long, healthy and fulfilled life. In short, they wish to achieve longevity.
There are certain areas in the world knows as “Blue Zones” where the life expectancy of the people is significantly higher than the rest of the world.
I’ve highlighted some of the tips from the blue zones in this article which will help you in increasing your lifespan and also your health span (number of years you remain healthy).
While you might not desire for a long life span, what you might need is some good health. You can use these tips for improving your health as well. These tips can be used by people of any age and gender.
Many people wish to have a long life with virtually no health complications. They wish to live longer due to several reasons. These could range from spending more time with their loved ones to having more time for themselves to fulfill their ambitions.
Several people spend most of their lives working to amass wealth, only to realize the fact that they don’t have much time left post-retirement to do things which they’ve always wanted to do outside of work. Some people also wish to live longer to witness the future.
Reasons for longevity and the people wishing for longevity are many, but very few actually know how to achieve it. Stay tuned till the end to know the “not so secret, secrets” about longevity and healthy life.
Longevity v/s Life Expectancy v/s Health Expectancy
Longevity talks about living a long life, whereas life expectancy is the average life years which a person is expected to live. Longevity is an extreme case, whereas Life Expectancy is an average.
Health expectancy is the number of years a person is expected to live a healthy life. Health expectancy is less than life expectancy most of the time since people usually catch some or the other disease after the age of ~50 (Health problems like cardiac issues, diabetes, joint pains, obesity, etc).
The world is experiencing a fall in health expectancy due to a rise in Lifestyle diseases amongst people below the age of 50 years. Several people are suffering from cardiac issues, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc. due to their poor lifestyle choices and stressful jobs.
It is high time that we start focusing on our health and choose a healthy lifestyle to reduce health expenses and live a long life.
Factors affecting Longevity
Longevity is affected by several factors. Most of these factors can be controlled by people, except Environmental factors and Genetical factors.
For many, their life span is determined by their genes. Several people have a long history of Diabetes, Cardiac issues, obesity in their families. This factor plays an important role in determining the life span of a person.
Sometimes, environmental factors can also influence the genetics, which in turn can impact longevity.
However, your healthy daily habits and lifestyle can take an upper hand over your genes and improve your life span.
The type of lifestyle which you lead might also have an impact on your life span. Eating too much fast food, having a bad history of physical fitness, experiencing extreme stress or suffering from a mental sickness can affect your life span.
You must pay close attention to the type of food which you eat and the type of lifestyle which you lead if you are serious about longevity.
Things like smoking and drinking reduce your lifespan but things like drinking green tea, consuming green vegetables and sleeping for at least 7 hours daily can increase your lifespan.
3. Environmental factors
These factors can’t be controlled by you. The most common environmental factors which impact longevity are Pollution and Terrorism. If you live in an area where there are high levels of both, then it might reduce your chances of longevity to very low levels.
If you wish to have a longer life, then it is best to move to a place with low pollution and no terrorism.
4. Socio-economic background
Your socio-economic background can severely impact your chances of getting access to healthcare, employment and even equal opportunities for leading a safe life. These factors, in turn, might impact your chances of longevity. Aware and educated people are likely to live longer.
Gender can also impact your longevity.
Women are more likely to live longer than men. This can be justified due to the fact that men are more likely to engage in risky activities than women.
While it might be difficult to control environmental and genetic factors, it is easier to control socioeconomic and Lifestyle factors to have a long life.
How to live a long life? A move towards longevity.
People do several things to increase life span. They go for vaccinations, annual health checkups, morning walks, wellness retreats, etc to ensure that they stay healthy and live a long life.
It is advised to do some basic activities on a regular basis to improve your chances of longevity, rather than doing some very complicated and expensive activities occasionally.
Following are the things which people should follow on a regular basis to achieve longevity and experience improved health:
1. Eat more Vegetables and fruits
Increase your consumption of fresh green vegetables and organic fruits. Eat 2-5 cups of green vegetables and 1-2 fruits daily. Vegetables contain lots of nutrients, help in controlling weight and also improve health.
You should consume sugar in natural form through fruits rather than through ice-creams or sodas. Always prefer fresh juice over packed juices. Also, never drink fruit juices on an empty stomach.
2. Prefer low-fat dairy products
Consume low-fat dairy products. While you might be skinny, still you should consume low-fat dairy products.
These products not only help in reducing cholesterol and saturated fats but provide the same levels of protein and calcium.
3. Cut down on salt and sugar consumption
White sugar is as bad as tobacco. You should prevent drinking sodas and cold drinks. Several companies sell sugar water and market them as a “bottle of happiness”.
Don’t fall into their marketing gimmicks. Soda in any form is bad. Even packaged fruit juices are bad for health. Prefer natural and fresh foods over packaged foods whenever possible.
4. Avoid consuming processed foods
Processed foods rarely possess the good qualities of the materials used to make them. Processed food also contain lots of preservatives, salt, and sugar.
Try eating whole foods instead. You should also avoid consuming tinned food, frozen foods and ready to cook meals.
5. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. It improves brain functioning and promotes fat loss.
Japanese people drink a lot of green tea and they have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. Cut down on the consumption of tea and coffee and start drinking green tea.
You should not drink coffee and energy drinks post 6 pm since doing that can prevent you from sleeping at your routine time.
6. Quit smoking and reduce drinking
Each time you smoke a cigarette, you increase your chances of early death. Cigarettes also harm people around you by the way of passive smoking.
Avoid drinking alcohol on a daily basis. Drinking alcohol in parties in moderation is fine, but never drink alcohol to suppress stress or work pressure.
7. Meditate and exercise daily
Meditation promotes mental health and exercising helps with physical fitness.
A moderate form of exercise can promote cardiac and muscle health. (Lift weights, go for jogging, full-body stretching). 10-15 minutes of meditation combined with 30 minutes of physical exercise on a regular basis can do wonders for your health. It is a well-known fact that people who are more active tend to live longer than the ones who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
In the beginning, you should start with 2 meditation sessions of 10 minutes: one in the morning and the other before sleeping at night. If you are a working person, then you should meditate for 10 minutes at your workplace to refresh and restore the focus.
Read this Guide to meditation to learn how to meditate effectively.
8. Laugh and socialize
Laughter is considered as the best medicine. It reduces pain, stress and even makes you happy and energized. People also feel happy when they see someone laughing. So, either you laugh or be around people who are happy.
Socializing with people on a regular basis creates a support system to which you can go back to whenever you feel low or whenever you are passing through a rough phase in life.
You can join a book club or a movie club to meet new people and socialize.
Check out this Guide to achieving Happiness in life to know about 35 secrets to maximize happiness in life.
9. Avoid drinking chilled water.
Drinking chilled water can contract your blood vessels and mess up your digestion. Instead, you should drink warm water early morning every day to flush out toxins from your body and improve blood circulation.
You should drink warm water with lemon and honey after waking up in the morning to burn fat and reduce the chances of constipation.
You can also drink warm water with turmeric since it helps in boosting the immune system, preventing cancer and lowers cholseterol.
10. Don’t take stress
Moderate stress is good. But moderate stress from several sources makes it bad and impacts your health and longevity.
Use stress management exercises to reduce stress and improve mental health. Having the right mindset can improve your chances of longevity.
You can either avoid activities that cause stress or practice stress management activities to increase resilience against stress.
11. Sleep for at least 7 hours daily
Your body performs many growth and repair functions while you sleep. Getting inadequate sleep can cause hypertension, high blood pressure and reduce your productivity. Therefore having a sound 7-hour sleep is a must.
You should never be awake past 12 at night and ideally, wake-up before 7 am. One should always try to wake up before 7 am, even on weekends.
Several people practice the 5 am routine in which they sleep early so that they can wake up at 5 am. This routine leaves them with an ample amount of time for exercising, meditating and working.
12. Vaccinations and Medical Checkups
Get vaccinations on time. Go for medical checkups every year. Several organizations these days pay for their employee’s vaccines and health checkups.
Check with your organizations’ HR department whether you are entitled to this benefit.
Most organizations these days host Wellness Programs that focus on improving the Health, Fitness, and Wellness of their employees. You should check with your company HR if they have such a program in place.
13. Don’t sit for too long
You should not sit for more than 60-90 minutes in one go. Sitting for long can reduce your life span, despite working out daily.
Try to take a 5-10 minute break after every 90 minutes of seating. If taking a break is not possible due to the hectic nature of your work, then you can stand for 5-10 minutes and continue working or you can take important phone calls during that break.
Learn about the 24 things which you must avoid to improve your Health, Fitness, and Wellness and save lots of money.
There is no secret to Longevity. You just have to follow simple tips and adopt a healthy routine to live longer. (You can practice the 5 am routine)
No matter what you do, where you live or what your financial situation is- the above-mentioned tips can be followed by anyone. Following the above-mentioned tips will save you lots of money. These tips are not just for people looking for long life, but also for people who wish to have a healthy life.
More than living a long life, I’d say that everyone should lead a happy life. Everyone gets one life and they should live it to their fullest expectations.
Also, since you are planning to have a long life, it goes without saying that you should learn and develop new skills regularly because the future will be very different than present and having a couple of skills might help you earn and survive.
Spend at least 30 minutes every day (that’s 180+ hours every year) on learning new skills.
I hope you follow the advice mentioned in this article and live a long life.
Happy Long Life!