10 Ways To Live Longer

How to Live Well: 10 Ways to Increase Longevity

I know you come here for fitness advice, for ways to live healthier and leaner, but isn't living longer a goal for everyone, too?  I've gathered up some studies and blog posts to offer tips on how to live longer while also living well.  Some ideas are very intriguing, some are easily doable, and others will take some commitment.  Sample the list and see if there's something you'd like to try. Live within a half mile of green space.  A Dutch study found that living that close to green space decreases the risk of developing 15 different medical conditions including chronic back pain, asthma, anxiety disorder, heart disease, and diabetes.  Nature is both soothing to the spirit and energizing to the body.  If being near a green space is impossible, consider adding a few healthy, vigorous plants in your home. Do yoga. An Ohio State University study reports that yoga decreases inflammation in the body which can lead to aging.  Not only does yoga increase flexibility and a sense of wellness, it may actually help you live longer. Exercise throughout your life. I reported on this recently.  A Swedish study found that those who exercise throughout their lives lived longer and were more robust in their senior years.  Even people who didn't start a regular exercise program until their 40s, 50s, and even 60s benefited once they began. Restrict calorie intake by 25% from your USRDA. If your US Recommended Daily Allowance is 2,000 calories (the average male) then this means cutting back to 1,500 per day.  For the rest of your now longer life.  Natural Health interviewed Eric Ravussin, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Louisiana State University, who said, "There is no question that calorie-restriction dieting increases the life span of any species."  Pretty powerful words.  To get some ideas of how to do this, check out the CALERIE study going on at Duke. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. These food groups are high in nutrient density, low in calories, and high in anti-inflammatories. Swelling in the body has been linked to a whole host of medical issues and eating lots of fruits and veggies will ensure you're keeping inflammation at bay.  When you're choosing what to eat, start with the fruits and vegetables and build the rest of your meal from there. Consider becoming a flexitarian or maybe even a vegetarian or vegan. Eat chocolate. Chocolate contains something called "the bliss molecule" or anandamide, which boosts people's sense of well-being. Feeling good about yourself is one of the key ingredients to living a happy, healthy life.  Try two ounces of dark chocolate a day that contains at least 60 percent cocoa. Create a large network of people. A strong sense of community has been linked to longevity.  It appears the more people we feel connected to, the longer we live.  This can certainly mean relatives, but particularly as we get older, we might find our social circles shifting to ones that we create from friendships and organizations we join.  The point is get out there, talk to people, find friends, and live longer. Meditation helps with stress. Decreased stress helps with several medical problems from stroke and heart disease to mental health issues.  Daily meditation will keep you calm, centered, and able to handle all that life throws at you.  A regular meditation practice also helps to stimulate the creation of HGH (human growth hormone), one of the body's key ingredients for longevity.  Not only will you live longer, you'll also have a higher quality of life. Sleep the right amount for you. A good night's sleep helps keep weight in check, inflammation low, reflexes sharp, and your mind alert, all contributing factors to longevity.  Most adults need between seven and nine hours a night, but you'll know if you're not getting enough sleep because you'll wake up tired.  To truly try to aim for that "refreshed" wake up every morning eliminate or limit caffeine and alcohol in the evenings, get enough exercise,  and turn off electronics at least a few minutes before retiring.  This is probably one of the most important items on this list. Go on vacation. Believe it or not, vacations help keep your weight in check!  They also reduce cortisol levels, decrease blood pressure, and help cancer patients recover faster.  The venerable Framingham Heart Study has weighed in on this.  Vacations should be mandatory, so unplug, relax, unwind. What do you think?  Is there one or two (or three?) on the list that you'd like to try?  It's not rocket science, pretty much basic principles we all know about, but have you thought of them strung together as a means to living longer? If you like this post, please consider joining my mailing list.  We give a peek behind the blog with extra tips and stories about the posts you'll read here.  It's over at the top of the right hand column. If you'd like to live to be 100, check out this story! Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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10 Responses to 10 Ways To Live Longer

  1. Kris @Krazy_kris November 1, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Such great whole-life fitness reminders here – I’m not surprised at all there’s some data to back it up. Live longer & live happier ;-)

  2. Lisa Johnson November 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Thank you Kris :-) Which ones do you want to try?

  3. Tara Burner November 1, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I already do all that except the live 1/2 mile from green space…and only because I live in huge metro. area and nothing green near me!
    I’m vegan & eat organic dark choc.
    I work out
    I have network :)
    I do yoga (and am contemplating-well trying to schedule- getting certified)
    I go on lots of vacations
    sleep..hmmm now that one is ‘iffy’ but definition but I do get enough it’s just less than most people LOL
    so i’m good to go on the list! and if it were up to me I would move to a greener area (I already have a green architect to design my house/retreat) and actually open an organic/natural/green retreat!

  4. Lisa Johnson November 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Tara, I think you’re ahead of me … but I’m working on my list too. #1 in all honesty is real vacations.

  5. Kay montano November 2, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    ‘chocolate’ in everyday form is full of inflammatory sugar & cheap vegetable oils therefore AGEING. The exact opposite of above claims. You actually mean pure cocoa NOT chocolate cocoa is high in antioxidant & anti inflammatory. Most ‘chocolate’ is 40% sugar so its mere junk. Pseudo science misinformation like the above is bad for peoples health.

  6. Deb November 2, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    Great tips Lisa. Although research bodes well for calorie restriction, I’m not a big fan. IMO focusing on quality whole non- processed foods with an emphasis on reducing omega 6 vegetable oils makes more sense.

  7. Lisa Johnson November 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Deb I’d much rather go your way than the severe calorie restriction. I’ve been fascinated by it for a few years now. I saw a thing on TV about it maybe 10 years ago and whenever I catch research on it I read it. It’s a tough way to live, you are basically always hungry and wind up absolutely obsessed with everything that goes in your mouth. Not sure it’s worth living longer for that …

    Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it,


  8. Tara Burner November 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    yes Lisa, take some real vacations and not work related!
    I’m leaving Thursday for 4 days to Savannah, GA then have another trip the week of Christmas, then a retreat in Feb and not sure what else! and, after the day I had today I can’t wait for Savannah and getting away!

  9. Patty @ Lose Weight And Get Healthy December 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Excellent tips! I have found that meditation and following a vegan diet has been extremely beneficial in improving my life. I am also fortunate to live at the beach where I can walk every morning.

  10. Lisa Johnson December 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    Patty, I’d love to live near a beach. That sounds fabulous and I’m glad meditation and veganism is working so well for you. I’m working on being more vegetarian and on a more regular meditation practice myself. Maybe I can tap into a little of your zen :-)

    Thanks for stopping by,


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