UPDATE: This article was updated and revised with new information on July 17, 2019.
Dr. Oz took the trending FaceApp #AgeChallenge (pictured above) and while people on social media may be putting the filter on as a joke, the fact is, there are a lot of perks to getting older. You’re more independent than when you were younger, you have a stronger sense of who you are, and hopefully, you have more time to pursue passions you didn't always have time to focus on. But you're probably still curious about ways to live longer. Aging is rewarding, but it can also be a bit intimidating.
As your health begins to decline, you spend more time visiting doctors, distracted by pesky symptoms, and, according to Money.com, the average couple could expect to pay upwards of $280,000 in healthcare costs from the time they are 65 to their late 80s. In order to avoid extra doctors appointments and health scares, try incorporating these longevity tips into your daily routine.
Get Involved With a Social Circle
Loneliness can have profound effects on your physical and mental health. It can cause trouble sleeping, physical aches and pains, and more. Check out some more ways to get involved post-retirement. Volunteering, joining a club, and more can help give you purpose and help you meet people your age who you can bounce ideas off of.
Like diet, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to promote your own health. A May 2019 study said that even taking just 4,000 steps a day can have a drastic positive influence on your physical health. A July 2018 study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden suggests that just moving for 30 minutes per day is enough to benefit your health. Combined with a healthy diet, physical activity can also help keep your weight down. And since obesity is such a major risk factor for so many diseases, it’s obvious why staying active should be one of your priorities if you want to live as long as possible.
Take Preventive Care Seriously
Another great way to promote your own health and to make sure any potential diseases don’t progress too quickly is to stay connected to the healthcare system. Don't forget about oral health as well. A 2019 study conducted by Queens University BelfastVisit found a link between oral health and liver cancer. If you can't afford to dental insurance, you can link up with the local dental school in your area for reduced fees. Get familiar on what you need to know about blood pressure as you age, since one in out of every three adults in the U.S. suffers from hypertension. Staying in touch with your doctor and up to date with appointments can help prevent something with a greater seriousness from happening.
Get Rid of Your Guilty Pleasures – Well, Some of Them
Old age may seem like a time to indulge, but if you can, it’s still best to give up some of life’s guilty pleasures. For example, if you are a smoker, one of the most impactful things you can do to improve your longevity is to quit. According to the CDC, the life expectancy of smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of nonsmokers. Luckily, if you quit, your chances of dying from a smoking-related disease significantly decrease.
Cutting back on alcohol may also increase the length of your life. While medical recommendations about alcohol can be confusing (one drink per day may actually have a positive effect on your health), one thing is certain – more than one drink a day is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and disability from diseases like cancer.
Get a Pet
According to Sharecare, having a pet can help give you a renewed sense of purpose, help you manage stress, and help stave off Alzheimer's. Of course adding a pet to your life is not a decision that should be taken lightly, but after factoring costs, time you can devote to the pet, and how long you expect the pet to live, it can be a great way to make an active change in bettering your mental health.
Clean Up Your Diet
No list of longevity tips would be complete without talking about the importance of diet. The Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet are often cited as examples of healthy diets that may increase life expectancy. On the flip side, eating foods like red meat have been shown to increase certain types of cancers. But any diet that focuses on whole foods, is high in vegetables, and low in processed carbs and sugars can support you into old age and reduce the risks of diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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