10 Ways To Live Longer, Flourish & Stay Healthy

ways to live longer

It seems the secret to long life may not be as difficult to obtain as we might think!  Turns out there’s a whole bunch of ways to live longer which are beautifully simple and don’t involve medication, wealth or even good genes.

We can create a full and long life through our mindset, intention and actions.  By getting back in touch with the landscape, nourishing ourselves, staying active and making a contribution whenever we can.  Let’s take a look…

10 Ways To Live Longer, Flourish & Stay Healthy

1  Eat Clean & Nourish Yourself

Of all the ways to live longer, eating well has to be one of the most fundamental!  The quality of the food you put into your body will determine the health of your entire immune system, how well you can fight disease and heal yourself.

Whenever you can, eat home-grown, non-processed and organic.   Clean food that is rich in nutrients and antioxidants.  This will lower your toxin intake and the amount of oxidative damage caused by free radicals.  It will also nourish your good bacteria and your gut which are so integral to your overall health.

Eat the rainbow, incorporating a wide variety of coloured fruit and veg into your diet. The more colourful the plants you eat, the more healing pigments you get into your body – compounds like carotenoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids, catechins, phenolic acids and stilbenes.  All these phytonutrients can protect cells from chronic inflammation and the development of disease [1].

For more on why eating-the-rainbow is so damn good for you read – What Are Polyphenols?

2  Stay Active, Walk More, Keep Moving

There is no doubt that the less you move and exercise your body, the more it succumbs to stiffness, ageing and ill health.  So many studies are showing that mild to moderate physical activity extends lifespan.

“Getting old is not a matter of age, it’s a lack of movement.” Tony Robbins

An interesting Danish trial in 2015, looked at the relationship between jogging and mortality in over 5,000 joggers.  The results showed that light to moderate joggers had better life expectancy than both strenuous joggers and those who were sedentary.  It found that the best jogging regime for lowering mortality was 1-2.5 hours per week (over a total of no more than 3 days), at either a slow or average pace [2].

Other studies have found that swimming can lower mortality risk by 50% and strength-training at least twice a week by 46% [2a][2b].  And a huge British study on over 80,000 participants, found that certain physical activities (cycling, swimming, racquet sports and aerobics) led to more health benefits than other sports (such as football and running) [2c].

So it appears that you don’t have to be a marathon-runner, an athlete or fitness-crazy to reap the benefits, just a little exercise is fantastic for you if done regularly!

3  Cut Down On The TV And Sitting Around

When it comes to shortening your lifespan, one of the worst things you can do is combine a sit-down job or a sedentary lifestyle with zero exercise!

In a big Australian population study in 2015, a key finding was that the combination of both prolonged sitting time and no exercise at all had a much higher association with mortality than those who sat down most of the day but did some form of physical activity [3].

Another study by the American Heart Association found that people who watched TV for more than 5 hours a day, were two and a half times more likely to die of a blood clot [3a].  Shocking stuff indeed.

So if you have desk-job or are a couch potato, you can make huge benefits to your health and lifespan just by getting moving and incorporating some regular exercise into your week!

4  Hold Onto Your Friends And Family

Turns out that maintaining social connections is great for not only well-being and happiness, but also health and longevity.  Studies are showing that those suffering from loneliness and social isolation have a higher risk of premature death from illness such as heart disease and stroke [4].

So even if you your friends drive you bonkers and you can only tolerate your family in small doses, be sure to stay in touch and nurture those relationships as much as possible.  Like it or not, human beings are a social species and need to stay connected.

5  Have Fun

One of the most important ways to live longer is to have fun whenever you can – dance, sing, smile and laugh!  Practice gratitude and appreciation for what you have.  Learn to thrive, flourish and stay positive.

Developing this sort of mindset, will help keep your stress-levels down.  And this is important because we now know that chronic stress plays a key role in the development of disease [5].  Yes of course there will be tough times and challenges, but how easily you can let them go and move on will make all the difference to your health.  So, be one of those people who’s not a ‘dweller’ and don’t take yourself or your life too seriously.

6  Try Intermittent Fasting

The latest research is showing us new and interesting ways to live longer, and one of these is intermittent fasting.  The idea is that when you stop eating for extended periods of time, your body is able to cease with digestion and detox, and move into a ‘fasting’ state,.  Then upon resuming food, processes such as cellular repair, stem cell production and regeneration begin to occur.

A 2015 study looking at this process, found that reducing calorie intake for just 4 days a month, lowered risks for not only ageing, but also cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  There were also improvements in cognitive performance and immune function [6].

7  Immerse Yourself In Nature

Immersing yourself in nature is one of the the most effortless ways to live longer and boost your health.  A walk along the beach or a mountain climb, a wander through the forest or a nap in a meadow.  Nature is a true healer and gives us an immediate escape from our often hectic lives into fresh air, peace and wilderness.

“All the office workers with a forest view from the window, had higher levels of of job satisfaction and lower levels of stress.”

A study into nature’s effects showed that you don’t even need to be in nature to feel the benefit of it.  Out of nearly 1000 workers in a Seoul office, all of the 481 workers with forest views from their window, showed significantly better job satisfaction and lower stress levels than those that had no view [7].

8  Drink More Tea (The Right Sort)

So if you’re a black or green tea drinker, you’re already at an advantage in the game of life.  There are some important healing compounds in these teas known as catechins, which have been shown to provide cardiovascular benefits and lower mortality rates.

A 4-year study of over 90,000 Japanese people aged between 40 to 69 years old, found that green tea consumption appeared to lower rates of heart disease in both men and women.  As well as respiratory disease and cerebrovascular disease in men [8].  And a similar study on a cross-section of over-80 year olds in China also showed that tea consumption lowered the risk of mortality in drinkers [8a].

So get supping on regular cups of freshly brewed green tea, to start improving your health and your circulation.  And for the biggest benefits leave out the milk, because milk casein appears to reduce the effectiveness of antioxidants in the tea itself [8b].  Try sticking to lemon and honey only, if you need to lighten the flavour.

9 Keep Learning, Creating & Challenging Yourself

When you keep pushing yourself to learn and grow, you stimulate your brain to develop new neural pathways and make new connections.  This makes you much less likely to develop degenerative brain conditions like cognitive decline and dementia.

An amazing 12 year study on the effects of book-reading among the elderly, found the practice increased lifespan regardless of gender, education, wealth or health.  Compared to those who didn’t read, the book-reading participants experienced a 20% reduction in mortality and enjoyed a longer life in which to continue reading [9].

Developing hobbies like reading, writing, journaling, puzzle-solving, painting and sculpture. Learning a new language, attending an evening class or trying a new skill or craft.  They are all fab ways to stretch your brain and keep it stimulated.

10  Volunteer & Contribute

There’s nothing that gives you a better sense of perspective in life, than taking your attention off your own problems and helping someone else with theirs.  And one of the best ways to do this is to volunteer your time and skills, by helping a good cause, charity or local group.

It not only helps other people, but keeps you active and social too.  As well as giving you a sense of community, achievement and more purpose in life.  So keep spreading the love and paying it forward!

What do YOU find is great for keeping young, healthy and happy?  Get in touch with your thoughts on ways to live longer and share in the comments below x

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