The age of our organs and our arteries are generally different from the age written on our birth certs. However, this information is essential, as it gives an indication as to our longevity. And the good news is that we can change certain habits to increase our lifespan!
Life expectancy is difficult to precisely determine, as many factors are at play: stress, BMI, activity levels, diet, family history and the consumption of toxic substances. However, global life expectancy trends are continually on the rise, with the average for women at 85.4 years old, and for men at 79.5.
So how can we protect our health in order to live for longer, and to stay in good health? Here are 10 unusual recommendations to follow…
1. Think positive
A Yale study (US) published in early 2018 showed that pessimistic people had three times higher a risk of developing health problems than those who adopted a positive attitude. The Okinawa archipelago, off the coast of Japan, has the highest number of centenarians. They explain this record by the positive state of mind in which they live their lives. They even have a word for it: “ikigai” (a reason for being).
2. Get a dog
Another study carried out on an older population (people aged over 65), concluded that dog owners lived for an average of 10 years longer than others, and remained in good health all the while. In fact, these people were 12% more active than people who didn’t have a dog to walk.
3. Let loose on the dancefloor
Dance can reduce the risk of developing health problems by an incredible 76%. This activity has more of an effect than cycling, doing jigsaws, reading or swimming. As well as its positive impact on cognitive ageing, dance helps preserve both balance and memory. In fact, when you hit the dance floor, you have to integrate all the information coming from your environment via the ears, the eyes and the sense of touch. Furthermore, your brain is required to work to remember the bewildering choreography that you execute all evening long.
4. Live close to nature
Living close to nature helps us to live longer. It is linked to a reduction in diabetes, lowered obesity rates, fewer allergies, a reduction in asthma, an increase in physical activity, an improved social life and more exposure to light. In short, there are multiple benefits -in fact, so much so that it has been shown that women who live less than 400 meters from a green area have a 12% lower mortality rate.
5. Eat walnuts and chocolate
Walnuts contain omega 3, which reduces inflammation, oxidative stress and hardening of the arteries. But make sure to choose at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate, as this is the type that has anti-ageing properties.
Meditation is an extremely important activity for two essential things: it provides immediate relaxation and helps prevent against brain ageing. A study also showed that the frontal cortex, the cingulate cortex and the insula were better developed in people who meditate. Meditation can also reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease, or at least delay its onset.
7. Do crosswords
In order to look after your memory, attention and powers of reasoning, you need to stimulate the brain. At every stage of life, read, do crosswords or any other cerebral activity. Research in the area has proven the benefits: a study showed that people who regularly did crosswords had the cerebral capacities of people who were physically ten years younger.
8. Make love every week
Women who have sex at least once a week may be less susceptible to serious illness. The study, which is still underway, is showing positive results, but for the moment has only included women.
9. Donate your time
To reduce your stress and maintain impeccable mental health, give a few hours of your time to people in need. If this task seems too arduous, you can just do simple kind things for others, such as holding the door for your neighbour, listening to a friend who is going through a difficult time, or stopping to have a chat with a homeless person.
10. Take care of your garden.
Gardening for a few minutes every day can reduce the risk of disease in over 60s by 36%.