Life expectancy has gradually increased over the last few centuries, and there’s a reason for that. We as a human race are getting smart about taking care of ourselves. In fact, by 2010, 5.5 million Americans lived to the age of 85 or older. By 2050, this 85+ age group is expected to reach 19 million Americans, or 5% of the total population, according to the Institute on Aging. If you want to be in this age group one day, there are some things you can do to add years onto your life.
Drink every day
You’ve probably heard that drinking is bad for you, and it is if you’re drinking in excess. However, moderate drinking is actually great for your body. A 2001 study published by the National Institutes of Health discovered that people who consumed one drink per day, qualifying them as moderate drinkers, were twice as likely to exercise compared to people who don’t drink at all. Additionally, a glass of red wine every day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
Consuming soy can actually lower your risk of developing some cancers. Studies have revealed that healthy women who eat soy at least once per week cut their risk of breast cancer by 50%. Make sure you stick to natural soy like miso, soy milk, and tofu because processed soy is not good for you.
Continue your education
Gaining more education can add years onto your life too. According to recent studies, every year spent studying past secondary school added 11 months to subjects’ lives. It’s unclear why this is true, but it is! So, maybe it’s time to go back to school.
People who take vacations live longer than those who don’t. Studies have shown that men who take at least one vacation per year lower their risk of death by 20% and their risk of heart disease by 30%. Make sure you take the time to unplug and de-stress once in a while.
That’s right, being social can actually help you live longer. Sorry, introverts. An analysis by Brigham Young University analyzed 148 studies and discovered a connection between social ties and lifespan. Those with strong social relationships have a 50% greater chance of continued living compared to those with weaker relationships. Loneliness can compromise your immune system, making it harder for you to fight off disease. So go make some friends!
Test your home for radon
Radon is an extremely dangerous radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of biological elements like uranium. Why does this matter? The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America today. Radon is colorless and odorless, so you won’t know that it’s in your home until you get it tested.
Okay, this one isn’t so surprising, but it’s true. Exercising can significantly reduce your risk for things like obesity, heart disease, and some cancers. The important thing is that you start as soon as possible, and get your kids in the habit while they’re young. Right now, only 43% of six- to 11-year-old Americans get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise every day, so it’s important to get them started young.
If you want to join that 85+ age group someday, try out some of these things to add years onto your life. You should also make sure to check your health with your doctor on a regular basis to make sure you’re in good shape.