Reviewed by: Erica Grandjean, APD, BNutr&Diet
Yes, you read that correctly! It is possible to actively prolong your life. The great thing is, it doesn’t have to involve expensive procedures or strange, invasive routines.
Here are five simple, everyday things that can add months – if not years – to your life.
Also read: 10 Ways Exercise Reshapes Your Brain
1. Get your heart rate up
This one’s a no-brainer. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to decrease blood pressure, manage stress, improve your heart health and rid your body of excess fatty tissue – all of which can drastically cut your life short if you’re not careful.
It needn’t be much, either. According to a recent study, jogging for one hour can prolong your life by seven hours.
If you’re not much of a runner, strength training is great for building bone strength and staving-off diseases such as osteoporosis.
If you’re looking to feel younger as well, nothing beats a 30-minute HIIT session for adding a youthful glow to your skin! Research suggests even a quick high-intensity session can reverse signs of ageing.
A program like 12WBT caters to all levels of fitness, so whether you’re looking for an introduction to exercise or an advanced running program, we’ve got you covered.
2. Eat your greens
A recent Harvard study showed people who consumed more plant-based protein (rather than animal protein) had lower mortality rates.
Researchers believe this is due to the amino acids found in plant protein, such as spinach, and how they reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Try a few meat-free days a week: 12WBT’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach and Mozzarella is a delicious vegetarian option.
3. Make friends with salmon
Now, you could make friends with an actual salmon (see point five) but if you’re Pescetarian or meat-eating, regularly consuming salmon can prolong your life.
A study from Harvard showed that people with higher levels of the healthy fatty acids in fish oils were 27 percent less likely to die during the study period, and had a 35 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.
4. Go to bed earlier
Admittedly this isn’t easy for parents, insomniacs or anyone who’s stressed and overworked. However, if you can, prioritise getting a good night’s sleep regularly.
Sleep deprivation causes extraordinary stress on the body: increased blood pressure, over-production of the stress hormone cortisol, and a weaker immune system.
Over time this adds up. Aim for at least seven hours a night, and try and get to bed before midnight for the best sleep cycle possible (although this theory hasn’t yet been proven!).
5. Call that friend
Increasingly, research is showing that maintaining an active and nourishing social life is crucial to long-term health.
The reasons are both simple and complex: being sociable releases endorphins, which in turn boost the immune system, decrease blood pressure and alleviate stress.
It also means you’re less likely to suffer an illness in silence, and get help when you need it.