Thanks to the wonders of modern science and improved healthcare, it seems that our life expectancy, as a rule, is increasing. Most of us can look forward to a long and happy old age, when we can make the most of our retirement and enjoy our golden years.
d as we see the sprightly-looking centenarians in the newspapers, many of us will want to know what their secret is. Luckily for you, we have a few to share…
Get a good night’s sleep
The pressures of modern life can mean that it’s difficult for us to get our recommended eight hours, but if you’re averaging at less than six hours of sleep a night, you may have problems. Studies have shown that losing this amount of sleep can lead to premature death, as well as problems like diabetes and obesity.
But if you’re sleeping for nine hours or more, you may be in bother, too – while it’s not thought to be a cause of ill health, it can be an indicator that something is wrong. Get checked out at the doctor’s to rule out any underlying issues.
Stop watching TV
Did you know that if you’re over 25, for every hour of TV you watch your life could be shortened by as much as 22 minutes? A sedentary lifestyle can be as damaging to your heath as smoking, according to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. So, switch off the gogglebox – unless, of course, you’re watching a fitness DVD. And actually doing exercise, instead of just thinking about it.
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? According to a study by the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, USA, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of intense exercise, per week can increase your lifespan by an average of 3.4 years. Double that, and you can increase your life expectancy by 4.2 years.
It seems that the type of exercise can play a part, too. It’s been reported that lifting weights can prevent, and even reverse muscle and bone loss, and going for a brisk half hour walk three times a week can lead to a 12% improvement of aerobic power after a year.
Eat more fish
It’s long been known that eating fish is good for your brain, but it seems that it’s also beneficial for your heart and circulatory system. The Omega 3 fatty acids in fish can help to reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack – by as much as a third, if you eat fish once or twice a week. Also, eating fish has been linked to a reduction in the risk of several cancers.
Get enough vitamins
A well-rounded diet is vital for wellbeing, but a few vitamins are especially important when it comes to life expectancy. Vitamin B12 has been reported to reduce the risk of dementia, and calcium is said to be important in preventing osteoporosis. Also, folic acid could potentially reduce the risk of colon cancer. However, too many vitamins can cause liver damage – consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.
It’s no secret that smoking can shorten your lifespan, but many smokers believe that the damage has been done, so quitting won’t help. This isn’t the case. Even if you have been smoking 40 a day for 20 years, you’ll see health benefits from quitting incredibly quickly.
In as little as two weeks your circulation will start to improve, and between three and nine months down the line your lung function will increase by up to ten percent. After five years, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half of that of a smoker, and after ten years your risk of lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker. By then, your risk of a heart attack will fall to the same as someone who has never smoked!