5 Simple Lifestyle Tweaks to help you Live Longer

When it comes to living a long life, Australians will be glad to know that they have a higher chance at this than many other people around the world. Australians are among the longest living people in the world, with an average life expectancy of 82.15 years as of 2015 (the 13th highest in the world according to the CIA World Factbook).

With that said, this doesn’t mean you should let yourself go and not take care of yourself. Life expectancies, after all, are just that – estimates and expectations.

If you want to live a long life and have a shot at meeting the estimated Australian life expectancy, then you have to make sure you live healthy and constantly improve your lifestyle.

There are several ways to do this, but here are five small, simple ways to make a positive impact in your life:


1. Eat more fruits and vegetables

By now, it’s practically common knowledge that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is good for you. But many still fail to do this consistently (or do enough of it) that it’s always worth a reminder. Several studies over the years have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you. So there is hardly any doubt about it now: if you want to live longer, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

But you don’t have to become a vegetarian to enjoy its benefits, either. You simply have to eat more of it and much more regularly. In fact, the Australian Department of Healthrecommends at least 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables per day for adults – an amount that’s not too difficult to achieve.


2. Consume less meat (especially red meat)

One common trait among people from countries with the highest life expectancies is that they don’t usually consume a lot of meat. For many people, consuming less meat (especially red and processed meat) goes hand-in-hand with eating more fruits and vegetables, so it’s often a natural transition.

This bodes well for those who decide to do this because research has shown that higher consumption of red meat may lead to a shorter life.

Similar to adopting more fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to take it to the extreme and abstain from meat altogether. Aim for moderation instead, eating smaller portions and less frequently. You could also try substituting red meat and processed meats with other sources of protein like fish, poultry, beans, and legumes.


3. Get moving

It’s no secret that staying active is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Not only does exercise and physical activity help you feel younger, it also makes your body stronger and more resistant to ailments and diseases.

One recent studypresented at the European Society of Cardiology showed that moderate and regular exercise could slow down ageing and increase a person’s average lifespan. According to Sanjay Sharma, a professor of inherited cardiac diseases at St. George’s University Hospital in London, exercise can add as many as 3 to 7 additional years to your life. Not to mention it could help prevent the onset of dementia, which is one of the leading causes of death in Australia.

Even better news? You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a gym rat to get the benefits of exercise. The study also shows that just 25 minutes a day of moderate physical activity can have a hugely positive effect on our bodies.


4. Spend time with good company

When it comes to living a long life, relationships truly matter.

Research suggests that the more meaningful relationships you have in your life, the longer you’re likely to live. One study by researchers from the University of Cambridge showed that those with stronger social relationships in their lives were about 50% more likely to survive than those with weak social relationships.

This study is consistent with the findings of another study by researchers from Brigham Young University, which showed that social isolation and loneliness can be precursors to early death.

So spend quality time with family and friends, and you’ll be on the right track.


5. Get enough sleep (but not too much)

Sleep is one of the best ways our bodies rest, so it’s only natural to think that the more sleep you get, the longer you’ll live. This assumption, however, isn’t always true.

One 2002 study from the University of California in San Diego suggested that those who slept eight hours or more were more likely to die than those who slept around 6.5-7.5 hours a night. A 2015 study from the University of Sydney, meanwhile, has shown that oversleeping (i.e. nine hours or more per day) can be a significant risk factor, especially when coupled with a highly sedentary lifestyle.

So how much sleep should you get?

Although there’s no single right amount of sleep for everyone, experts seem to agree that around 7 hours may be the sweet spot. So aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

As these tips show, improving your life to live longer doesn’t always require massive life changes. By making simple, positive tweaks to your lifestyle, you can effectively increase your chances of living longer.

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