Good genes play a role in good health, but there are a lot of changes you can make to ensure that you live a long and healthy life. As much as seventy percent of the influences on life expectancy are more luck and choice than inherited traits.
So what can you do to stay younger longer?
- Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, it’s time to quit. This is the single most important thing you can do for your life expectancy.
- Aim for a BMI (body mass index) of 23.5 — fat cells can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
- Get moving. Thirty minutes of brisk walking five times per week can increase the flexibility of your muscles — and more importantly, your arteries. Regular mild exercise can also reduce the risk of diabetes, certain cancers, depression, skin problems, and even dementia.
- Don’t skip the strength-training. After the mid-forties, people start to lose a quarter of a pound of muscle mass and gain fat instead. Lift weights two or three times a week for stronger bones, stronger muscles, better sleep habits, and more.
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Aim for nine servings every day to help give your body the vitamins it needs to run at its peak efficiency.
- Take care of aches and pains. Continuous pain may dampen your immune system, encourage depression, and raise stress levels in the body.
- Fight fair. Making or hearing hostile comments can actually influence heart activity in a bad way. Getting nasty or sarcastic just isn’t worth it — agree to disagree instead.
- Be plant-friendly. Gardening or just being around plants can help reduce stress and increase recovery times after illness or surgery. Plants can help filter bad stuff out of the air — those hard-to-kill spider plants are thought to be among the top natural air filters out there.
- Pay it forward. Doing good deeds for others can help a person feel healthier and less stressed. Simply being kind to others can pay off in the long run.