7 Ways To Increase Your Lifespan
7 Ways To Increase Your Lifespan – Life expectancy has risen globally in the recent past, and the number of older people has increased. Some people consider this longevity a negative phenomenon because old age is linked to chronic diseases, dementia, cognitive impairment, social deprivation, and a decline in functionality. However, longevity does not necessarily translate to ill health.
Evidence indicates that more people are growing old while maintaining relatively good health. The old now remain active both physically and mentally, and have good social interactions. Baby boomers are now growing old, and they are looking for secrets for aging gracefully while maintaining good health.
In this regard, many questions about the factors that influence longevity have been asked. Some of the factors that have been found to have the greatest effect on health and aging include hormones, lifestyle, diet, antioxidants, the environment, exercise, leisure activities, and social contacts among others. Read on because this article focuses on scientifically proven factors that influence health and longevity.
1. A Healthy Diet
One basic secret of maintaining good health in old age is a healthy diet. Most people often overlook this principle, and fail to eat a diet of nutritious foods. On the contrary, most people eat processed foods.
It is important to note that processed and junk foods contain sugars, grains and useless calories that makes insulin levels to go up. High insulin levels not only exacerbate the aging process, but also increase the chances of developing chronic diseases and obesity.
Maintaining good health into old age also means avoiding genetically engineered foods. Genetically engineered foods are less nutritious compared to organic foods, and they have many health risks. On the same note, most processed foods available in the market today contain genetically modified ingredients.
The side effects of genetically modified foods are not well known because of the little research that has been done.
The best diet that ensures optimal health and longevity is that based on whole foods such as organic vegetables, grass-fed meat, nuts, and raw dairy that come from healthy local sources.
In addition to the aforementioned foods, consuming a good portion of raw foods and fermented foods ensures good health. Making these simple dietary changes is a crucial first step towards a long healthy life. Another dietary approach of ensuring longevity and good health is calorie restriction. This approach is still in
This approach is still in its experimental stages, but preliminary results indicate that it is promising. For example, an article published on The Economist website document a story of a 45-year-old executive who is on a calorie-restricted diet as a way of ensuring longevity and health.
The executive consumes 1,900 calories per day, which is 600 less than the recommended. For breakfast, he takes a large salad, yogurt and a muffin with the right nutrients. The meal contains 100 calories, but it provides the executive with 10 percent of the essential nutrients he needs.
For lunch, the executive takes legume-based stews and a muffin. However, the dinner he takes varies. The executive has been restricting his diet for 15 years. Studies have shown that in some animals, calorie restriction lowers the chances of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, calorie restriction prevents the degeneration of nerves and lengthens life.
The results were observed among rats in the laboratory. However, the researchers thinks that what works for rats may work for humans. It is estimated that calorie restriction has the potential of adding an individual 15 years, disease free life. No clinical trials have been conducted to confirm the findings. Nevertheless, people experimenting with calorie restriction say that their blood pressure has dropped significantly since they implemented the approach.
Physical activity is another critical factor that prevents early death because studies have shown that people who live sedentary lives have a short life.
Some studies have found that reducing the amount of time an individual remains sedentary to an average of three hours per day is likely to increase the life expectancy of that individual by two years. Moreover, reducing the amount of time one spends watching TV to less than one hour per day could increase life expectancy by l year.
It is noteworthy that in the modern age, it is difficult to avoid sitting down for long periods because most jobs are done using computers. However, it is possible to make up for the time one spends sitting by getting enough exercise daily. In addition, one can take one-hour breaks from sitting at the desk when at work.
Science has proven that exercise has certain anti-aging effects. For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that exercise triggers a process called mitochondria bio genesis that declines with aging.
This implies that frequent exercise can significantly reverse the reduction in functionality declines with aging. This implies that frequent exercise can significantly reverse the reduction in functionality that comes with age.
Hormones play a significant role in influencing the rate at which people age. The manner in which hormones control aging is complex. Hormones work in harmony to advance longevity based on biological plans. On the other hand, hormones may act erroneously and trigger the onset of diseases linked to old age.
Hormones influence the rate of aging, and studies are being done to test the efficacy of replacement therapy in reversing the degenerative changes that come with age. For example, many gynecologists support the idea of treating the symptoms of menopause using estrogen and progesterone.
Furthermore, studies are underway to investigate the uses of adrenaline, testosterone, melatonin, and growth hormones in reversing the decline in functionality that is associated with old age. Nevertheless, sex hormones that are programmed to decline with age have remained the main targets in studies meant to investigate the role of hormones in aging.
Women undergo a distinctive menopause with clear signs. On the contrary, the “andropuase” associated with men have no distinct signs.
In women, replacement therapy with progesterone and estrogen is widely accepted in preventing osteoporosis and heart disease. Current studies have shown that treatment with progesterone improves the cardiovascular benefits estrogen bestows. Some of the benefits include increased secretion of HDL the good cholesterol.
Some studies have even found that estrogen has a direct antioxidant effect. The benefits of estrogen include relieving complaints associated with menopause, improved libido, and enhanced mood and memory, and even slowing down the progression of Alzheimers.
Most women do not need treatment with estrogen in old age, but the value of the companion hormone progesterone cannot be underestimated.
Natural progesterone as opposed to artificial drugs like Provera is known to help in metabolizing fat and preventing blood clots. It also eliminates carbohydrate craving that is seen in older women. Carbohydrate craving can cause obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, progesterone can alleviate symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
Hence, using natural progesterone is one of the ways of ensuring good health and longevity for women. Natural progesterone come in the form of oral capsules or ointment that can be applied on the skin.
Testosterone is another hormone that is known to slow down the aging process and maintain youthful appearance.
Studies have shown that low testosterone levels can cause the accumulation of fat in the abdomen, increasing an individual’s risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
In Denmark, cardiologists encourage patient with diabetes, circulatory problems and heart disease to be enrolled in testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone helps protect the heart by activating the elimination of cholesterol, preventing blood clots, enhancing the pumping mechanism of the heart, and enabling energy production in tissues that do not receive optimum blood.
Physicians in Denmark have treated angina and gangrene using testosterone. Testosterone also reverses other negative effects of aging such as the loss of skeletal muscles, insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
Moreover, testosterone protects from autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis that are highly prevalent in women. Testosterone also plays a major role in preventing osteoporosis.
Having optimum testosterone levels as one ages is another sure way of growing old while healthy. Exercise naturally boosts testosterone levels, but in cases where testosterone levels have declined significantly, therapy by qualified physicians may be needed.
The knowledge of genetics is important in determining the aging process because the manner individuals age is predicted by their genes. People who understand their genetic code find it easier to prevent disease and predict the type of illnesses they are likely to develop based on their family history. Therefore, in order to age gracefully in good health, one should know his/her family history and take note of the genetic diseases that are common in his/her lineage.
For instance, an individual with a family background that has a high prevalence of cancer should undergo regular screening to watch for any unlikely changes. For example, the American actor Angelina Jolie made an extreme decision by undergoing a double mastectomy because her mother died from breast cancer.
The importance of understanding the genetic makeup is that once an individual knows the genetic problems he/she is likely to have because of his/her lineage, the individual can take measures to prevent the disease.
A healthy lifestyle demands that everything should be done in moderation. People who are interested in cultivating good health should avoid exaggerating tendencies. This means that one should be aware of his/her actions and the effects they have on his/her health.
This does not mean that people cannot overindulged in certain activities occasionally. The key points to note is that consuming certain types of food in excesses is not advisable. The correct thing to do is to integrate a wide variety of foods in the diet, and they should be consumed in moderation. Alcoholic drinks should also be consumed in moderation.
Living a life with a purpose is another sure way of ensuring good health in old age. Living with goals and missions trains the mind to want to live longer in order to accomplish the dreams. For example, it has been observed that people who engage in purposeful activities such as starting and running organizations tend to live longer.
6. Leisure Activities and Social Contacts
Socializing with others is one of the key factors that determine health and longevity in humans. Keeping the company of others is highly encouraged because it improves the mood, which is important for long life.
Being in good company rewires neurons and alters brain chemistry resulting in a positive attitude. People who keep good company may notice that the things that used to bother them no longer matters.
John Robinson in his book titled “Healthy at 100” states that the most significant indicator of good health and longevity is quality personal relationships. Robbins adds that chronic loneliness is the number one risk for premature death.
The author also gives examples of cultures that are known to live the longest and the quality of their relationship. For instance, the author gives the example of the Abkhasia living in Southern Russia along the Caucasus Mountains.
In the Abkhasia culture, wealth is not measured in terms of the assets an individual possesses. The number of quality relationship an individual maintain with the community, extended family, and at home indicates wealth.
The presence of supportive people shields us from the stress we undergo when we feel wealth. The presence of supportive people shields us from the stress we undergo when we feel overwhelmed, unsupported and isolated.
Stress makes the body to release hormones such as cortisol, which have a negative effect on one’s mood. On the contrary, social support does away with the negative effects of stress hormones. Love triggers a series of physiological events in the body.
For instance, hormones and peptides are released when we feel love, and they include dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, nitric oxide, and vasopressin.
These hormones lower anxiety, causes one to relax and create a positive state of mind. Having a good psycho-social support plays a significant role in aging lust like eating well, avoiding smoking, and exercising. The time people spend with their spouses, children, grandchildren and close friends send life signals to the cells.
7. Personality Factors
Studies have shown that certain personality traits may play an important role in aging. One such study focused on the children of centenarians. The study found that the children of people who have lived for more than 100 years are also more likely to live longer, and they were extroverted and less neurotic compared to other groups. This equipped the children of centenarians to handle stress better compared to other people.
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