Last Updated: May 9, 2018
A combination of our genetics and lifestyle habits determines our longevity. While many people rely on their family history to determine their lifespan, there are still ways to outlive your biogenetics.
Read our secrets to turning back the biological clock below.
The scientific view of what determines a lifespan has swung back and forth. From eating right, exercising and getting good medical care to a person’s genetics; it’s hard to know whether nature or nurture plays a bigger role.
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We do know, however, that a nutritious diet, positive health choices and regular exercise all contribute to helping seniors feel more energetic. Now, emerging research into longevity indicates that mental and social activity are just as critical as physical activity when it comes to healthy aging. In addition to genes, hobbies, leisure activities, sleep habits and a rich social network are among the factors that correlate with living longer.
Some other factors for lifespan include the following:
Because there are so many variables to lifespan, the best course of action to lead a long life is to lead a healthy and rewarding one. Here are seven ways lifestyle can help you outlive your genetics:
If your goal is to live to 100, eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet that is also the right portion for your weight is the smartest plan. Leaving a little bit of food on your plate may be a good idea as author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity around the world, found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they feel 80% full. St. Louis University researchers also confirmed that eating less helps you age slower, as in a 2008 study they found that limiting calories lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism and speeds up the aging process.
The following foods have also been linked to longevity, so they’re a few you might want to add to your pantry:
Hobbies and interests make people happy and interested in life; which of course helps them live longer. A sense of happiness and purpose play a huge role in longevity. Whether it’s doing arts and crafts, caring for a pet, dancing, gardening, golfing or walking, having and engaging in hobbies is an excellent choice if you want to live into your autumn years.
Daily fitness is one of the best things we can do to increase our longevity as working out has positive effects on the heart, metabolism and mind. Even moderate exercise, such as a quick 30-minute walk each day, can lower a senior’s risk for heart disease. Exercise also makes us feel good by getting blood moving and releasing endorphins. Functional fitness is a great option for elderly loved ones who need some healthy movement.
Sleep rejuvenates our body and mind, not to mention helps prevent harmful plaques forming on our brains that can contribute to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Studies have consistently shown that sleep deprivation or sleeping less than five hours a night can lead to major health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and even an increased risk for mortality.
Getting the right amount of sleep, in addition to uninterrupted ‘good sleep,’ is important. For most people, a healthy amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours of sleep a night, according to doctors. Sleep studies have shown that those who get more sleep a night typically live longer. So make a good night’s sleep a priority, especially for your elderly loved ones.
Visiting family and friends is one of the most important past-times for not only seniors as these ‘catch-ups’ help combat senior isolation; one of the leading causes of mental and physical decline. Social isolation and loneliness have been associated with increased risk for depression, high blood pressure, mental decline, and more.
Having a rich social network not only helps to strengthen relationships and family and friend bonds, it’s also important for happiness. After all, humans are wired to interact and socialize, and they especially need these interactions as they age and, sometimes, lose spouses and social circles. One of the most important parts of life is about human interaction, emotional connections and having a reason to live. Many believe senior living can be better for isolated seniors as it can provide a rich social network.
According to Huffington Post, the rich live longer than the majority of people. A few reasons the affluent may live longer is that they have access to better healthcare and often are less angry, sad or stressed. Generally, however, the best rule of thumb is to spend less than you make. You don’t need to be rich, just smart, according to Dr. Henry Lodge, MD, FACP, author of “Younger Next Year,” to reap the benefits of living within a budget.
Research has shown that adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have bigger brains and sharper thinking skills than their peers. Higher education has been linked to decreased risk of cognitive decline. Researchers theorize that well-educated people have better-connected synapses in their brain, which also helps compensate for the havoc wreaked within the brain by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Critical thinking and crossword puzzles are also great ways to keep the brain fit.
Apparently, a location may influence longevity as there are places around the world where people live longer. Share any suggestions you may have to outlive your biogenetics, in the comments below.