You have two options: you can live a shorter life with more years of disability, or you can live a longer life with fewer years of disability. The choice is yours.
There are changes you can make to your lifestyle that will help you to both extend your life and improve the quality of your “golden years”. Below you’ll discover 10 ways to slow down aging and live longer.
1. Get a New Perspective on Aging. Instead of thinking of getting older as an inevitable decline, think of it as gaining knowledge and wisdom.
Studies show that those who have a positive view of getting older look and feel younger than people of the same age who view aging as something negative. In addition, those who feel younger than their age have less cognitive decline.
2. Always Wear Sunscreen. Dr. Wendy Roberts, a board certified dermatopathologist, explains that wearing sunscreen slows down the development of wrinkled, premature aging skin. In fact, up to 90 per cent of aging is caused by external factors, the big one being sun exposure.
Choose a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection against both UVB and UVA rays.
3. Wear Sunglasses. In addition to protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun, you also need to protect your eyes. You want to keep ultraviolet light from getting into your eyes and onto the lids and the skin around them.
Long-term, excess UV exposure can cause a variety of eye problems, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. Make sure that the sunglasses you choose block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
4. Stimulate Your Brain. A study published in the journal Neurology confirms that people who habitually read, write, and otherwise process information are less likely to experience mental declines late in life. Mental stimulation is extremely valuable in slowing down cognitive decline.
5. Get Regular Aerobic Exercise. People who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. Aim to do at least 150 minutes, 2 hours and 30 minutes, of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
Going for a brisk thirty-minute walk, five days a week is a great way to ensure that you can continue to carry out the activities you enjoy as you get older.
6. Start a Weight Training Program. One unfortunate aspect of aging is the loss of muscle tissue and strength. However, it’s possible to slow down the aging process by improving strength. In addition, studies show that increasing your strength also makes your genes younger.
7. Hang Out With Friends and Family. Relationships play a key role in health and life expectancy. Social relationships don’t just improve the quality of our lives, but also the length of it.
A study found that strong social ties can be as important as losing weight if you’re obese; getting active if you’re sedentary; and giving up cigarettes if you’re a smoker. One of the best things to do if you want to live longer is to strengthen your ties with others.
8. Get Seven Hours of Sleep. Research has shown that, when it comes to sleep, seven is the magic number. A study of more than 30,000 adults found that heart attacks and stroke are twice as high among those sleeping less than five hours a day, compared with those getting seven hours.
Those who slept nine hours or more also had a markedly increased risk.
9. Be conscientious. Research has found a correlation between conscientiousness and lower blood pressure, lower rates of diabetes and stroke, and fewer joint problems. For one, people with conscientious personalities are less likely to engage in harmful behaviors–such as smoking and risky driving–and more likely to adhere to healthful ones.
Attributes of being conscientious include being organized, being disciplined, and having self-control. Things you can do in order to become more conscientious include creating a daily schedule and sticking to it, being more punctual, and organizing your desk every day before leaving work.
10. Eat to 80% of Fullness. The residents of the island of Okinawa in Japan are known for their longevity. One of the secrets to their long lifespans is a practice they call hara hachi bu — eating only until you are 80 percent full.