Getting older is an inevitable and irreversible process. But while you have no control over your age, you can certainly try to trick your mind and body into feeling younger and acting accordingly. In reality, the secrets of longevity are not that secret. They are all about making smart lifestyle choices and learning to enjoy life along the way. Everything from your diet and physical activity to relationships with other people acts its part and affects how fast or slow you age. Keep reading this to learn how you can significantly improve your chances of living not only longer but healthier.
1. Get a piece of the action
One of the secrets to longevity in humans – besides having protective genes – is regular activity. However, being active and having a six-pack are not as synonymous as one might think. You don’t really have to turn into a pro (which can actually have some adverse effects) in order to be healthy as a proverbial horse – just any regular physical activity will do the trick. And it doesn’t have to be something rigorous or too intense either. Taking long walks, going for a swim, playing squash, going on a bike ride are all excellent choices that without doubt contribute to lifelong health and well-being.
Exercise is much more than just a part of a wellness trend. It is capable of turning the aging heart into its more youthful version. That’s why it’s best to engage in regular physical exercise earlier in life. But if you start training later than you’d hoped, don’t be discouraged. A host of research shows that it’s never too late to make your heart more youthful with the help of exercise. Only provided that you stick to a consistent training schedule and evenly spread your activities throughout the week. As far as the frequency of the exercise goes, it’s best to go to practice at least four times a week.
Socializing with other enthusiasts helps as well. Some studies say that team sports – like tennis, volleyball, cricket and the like – add more years to your life than activities designed ‘for one’, such as swimming or running (unless it’s a group run).
2. Try a super agers diet
Making wise food choices undoubtedly contributes to increased longevity. Don’t wait until some health condition will force you to change your eating habits – start adopting and maintaining healthy eating habits today. These four nutrition tips are a great way to start thinking about the health of your body:
- Lose some weight (without going too far). Excessive weight and obesity can contribute to some of the health problems. For example, they can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease, to say the least. However, it’s not necessary to starve in order to benefit from weight loss. Losing weight within reasonable limits is the key. Always put health first whilst pursuing your dietary goals.
- Look out for added sugars. It’s not that hard, once you make a habit out of it. Start with cutting back on soda, sauces, and syrups that contain a heap of added sugar. To make a sugar-free transition easier, swap sugar for naturally sweet foods, such as dates, honey, dried apricots, raisins.
- Skip processed foods and drinks. It’s reasonable to walk past any food that comes in a package and is not a single ingredient (e.g. compared to fruits and veggies, nuts, lean meat or eggs for example). And here’re the foods that made the ‘bad’ list: all sorts of junk food, crisps, chips and the like.
- Add more vital nutrients. Making your diet more colorful with the help of fruits, berries, vegetables, grains, lentils, and legumes. This helps you consume more vitamins, minerals and keeps your cravings under control. Consistent food variety is crucial for good health.
3. Feed your brain
Contrary to a popular belief, our brain health doesn’t inevitably deteriorate when we grow older. To keep your brain sharp at any age it’s important to learn new things, teach yourself focus and concentration, regularly challenge your mind with riddles and finally just make the brain think.
If you neglected to regularly train your brain in recent years, it doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat, even if you’re in midlife. You can still keep up and learn new skills.
Creative activities like writing, painting, playing music instruments help expand the realm of possibilities of the brain, stimulates its activity, makes it think differently. And when it comes to choosing - the world is your oyster; there’s truly no limit to the amount of skills one person can master.
Starting something entirely new and different later in life should be like ripping off a Band-Aid. Don’t waste time on fear and indecision. For one, you’re mature and knowledgeable, and that’s quite a head start. Think of all the things you’ve always wanted to learn – like playing the guitar or picking up a new language – but somehow haven’t gotten to it; now is the time.
Training your brain and doing so regularly helps improve your concentration, brain function, memory, and logical thinking.
4. Think positive
There are people who tend to always focus on their disappointments in life: illnesses, rude people, bad service, old age, the list goes on. Others always see a silver lining, no matter what. I am proud to have friends who fearlessly handle whatever curveballs life throws their way, regardless of their age or physical condition. And I have never heard them say things like: Could it be any worse? or When will it all end? To me, of course, it is nothing short of heroic.
Naturally, there are things that can’t be helped and occasional expression of sadness, fear and anger is inevitable.
The real trick is not to turn these emotional states into a habit. We can’t banish stress and sorrow altogether, but we can try to calmly accept each situation or transition as just another chapter of our life. And if there is anything that can make aging easier is the graceful acceptance of life’s hiccups without surrendering to them. Learning to stay serene and complaint-free takes time, countenance and courage.
Treat life as the pure joy it is and do something that brings you genuine pleasure. Being content with your life and satisfied with the choices you make improves your chances of having a long and healthy life.
And one more thing: laugh all you want, literally. Because a good laugh significantly adds to your lifespan. Because, when you think about it, aging well is all about living and enjoying life.
5. Be a social animal
Last but not least. Like it or not, we as humans are largely dependent upon trusting one another. Yes, we grow tired of other people from time to time and greatly relish the much-needed ‘me’ time. It’s all true, however, at the end of the day, we do need a good company of people around to feel more fulfilled and happier in life.
We naturally want to belong and convey information, we seek warmth and understanding in others.
Connection to other people gives our life purpose. This goes back to our roots when the urge to be close to our own kind brought us together in the first place. We develop our psychological and analytical skills by learning from one another and become more insightful as a result.
It doesn’t mean, of course, that you should befriend people you can’t stand just to fill the void of loneliness. In fact, if you do, this can rob you of your precious years of health. That’s why it’s important to encircle yourself with people whom you care about and who care about you in return. We choose our social circle and reshuffle it in the course of a lifetime. The ties that remain as we age are the strongest ones. And having them is one of the main secrets to a long and happy life.