Who hasn’t thought about ways to prolong their youth? And while it may sound like a fantasy, there are ways to preserve your youthful vigor to a certain extent. Obviously, eternal youth is not possible, but it is possible to extend your lifespan by following healthy habits.
#1: Minimize Unhealthy Substances
The first healthy habit to be implemented into your health is limiting unhealthy substance consumption. This means cutting out foods, drinks and other unhealthy habits, with smoking and drinking at the top of the list.
Unsurprisingly, those who want a longer life should avoid smoking. Smoking is an incredibly unhealthy addiction that can reduce your life expectancy by as much as 10 years. Moreover, a study from Johns Hopkins found that people who adopted four smart habits, one of which was avoiding smoking, reduced their chance of death from all causes by 80%. Thus, it is essential to quit or avoid smoking entirely in order to prolong your lifespan.
Drinking alcohol is not necessarily harmful in itself. However, excessive drinking (i.e., consuming 14-25 alcoholic drinks a week) can shorten life spans by one or two years, even as much as 4 to 5 years in extreme cases.
On the other hand, moderation (one glass per day for women, two for men) is more than salutary. Limiting alcohol consumption reduces the risks associated with excessive drinking and can extend your lifespan by lowering your risk for heart illnesses.
#2: Exercise Often
Another key healthy habit for a long life is regular exercise. To stay healthy for as long as possible, it is vital that you get up and move every single day. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to become a marathon runner.
One study has found that being active for 15 minutes every day can add up to three years to your life! Additionally, the aforementioned Johns Hopkins study concluded that daily exercise is one of the four smart habits we must implement for a long, healthy life. So, if you want a healthy life, make sure you exercise for 15-30 minutes a day!
#3: Eat Healthy Foods
A key component of living a long life is eating healthily. While this may look different for each person regarding calorie amounts of food groups, everyone can benefit from eating more plants and nuts.
Nuts are a great source of minerals that have been linked to a 39% decreased risk for premature death. Likewise, plants have been found to reduce cancer risks by 29-52% and lower premature death risks by 12-15%. So, regardless of what you like to eat or how many calories you need, you have to eat more nuts and plants if you want a longer life!
#4: Get a Healthy Amount of Sleep
Sleep, while often overlooked, is an invaluable part of a healthy lifestyle. However, both over and undersleeping are highly detrimental to your health. According to a study on people’s sleep, sleeping too little or sleeping far too much can increase your risk of death. To keep a careful balance between these two extremes, try to go to bed at the same time every night and get 7-8 hours of rest every night.
#5: Be Active in Your Mental Health
The last tip is to be active in mental health. While sometimes overlooked, your mental health can have unquestionable effects on your life. It’s essential to minimize negative mental states like stress, anger, loneliness and fear since they can shorten your lifespan. Thus, keeping your mind positive and being active in your social life is critical to keeping your life healthy and long.
A Parting Reminder
The key to a long life isn’t the fountain of youth or some magical potion— it’s living a healthy lifestyle. By exercising regularly, managing your diet, sleeping enough, staying positive and steering clear of unhealthy substances, you can keep your life healthier longer. The real fountain of youth hides in the habits you practice every day!
Luke Argue is a junior in the government department at Patrick Henry College. Aside from writing, Luke enjoys playing volleyball, reading about foreign affairs, and studying world cultures and religions.