Add Up To 24 Years To Your Life By Doing These 8 Simple Habits

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We all know that we could be a little healthier.

Perhaps you could drink a little less booze, develop good sleeping habits or even manage your stress better.

To what end, though? While we know vaguely that some things are bad for our lifestyle, how much do we know about what changing them can do for us? What is our goal?

Well, according to a study from the American Society For Nutrition, there are 8 things we all could be doing to expand our lifespan.

These are:

  • being physically active

  • being free from opioid addiction

  • not smoking, managing stress

  • having a good diet

  • not regularly binge drinking

  • having good sleep hygiene

  • having positive social relationships

While these aren’t possible for everybody due to a range of social, circumstantial and economical limitations, the study did also find that doing just one of these can expand your lifespan, regardless of your current age.

Richard Smith-Bernal, founder of The Juice Smith, has provided his practical advice on embracing these habits where possible and potentially lengthening your life in the process.

The simple habits that could give you a longer life

How to improve your diet

Smith-Bernal said: “Maintaining a healthy diet is about finding balance. Instead of focusing on restriction, shift your mindset towards adding more nutritious foods.

“Start by incorporating an additional vegetable into your daily meals this week. Then, gradually introduce a new type of seed or nut the following week. After that, incorporate another superfood fruit into your diet.”

How to improve your sleep

Smith-Bernal urged that you shouldn’t solely focus on going to bed earlier but instead prioritising the quality of the sleep that you’re already getting with the time you have.

He said: “Establishing a winding down routine can help you gradually transition away from technology as bedtime approaches.

“By reducing your exposure to blue light and minimising stimulation, your body can naturally ease into a state of drowsiness earlier, leading to a more restful and rejuvenating sleep.”

How to exercise more

Instead of forcing yourself to do traditional exercises, Smith-Bernal recommends discovering activities that you genuinely enjoy.

He said: “Instead of investing in a gym membership that you might never use because you dislike exercise machines, explore other options. Perhaps you find joy in rock climbing or participating in a local sports league.

“If you’re a fan of audiobooks or podcasts, why not combine your exercise routine with a leisurely walk or run around your neighbourhood while catching up on your favourite listens?”

This is because if you’re doing something you enjoy doing rather than feeling obliged to do, you’re more likely to stick to it.

Understand opioids and manage your relationship with them

Smith-Bernal said: “This one may seem obvious or completely avoidable, but with opioid epidemics sweeping through communities over the past decade, it’s becoming more challenging to avoid.”

He went on to warn that most who get swept up in an opioid addiction initially start on benign prescribed opioid-based painkillers for medical reasons

He said: “Don’t take any prescription from your doctor lightly. Talk with your doctor about the risks of opioids and find a plan that balances your need for pain relief with the dangers at hand.

“And if you find yourself having a hard time getting off the prescription, seek help - the earlier, the better.”

How to manage your relationship with alcohol

Smith-Bernal said: “Finding alternative ways to socialise without relying on alcohol is key. Explore alcohol-free drinks and cocktails, and consider bringing your own fancy juice to parties. Staying hydrated is also essential.

“With alcohol being such a prominent part of our culture, many underestimate the strong connection it has to chronic disease, it’s never too late to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.”

How to avoid tobacco 

Smith-Bernal said: “The health community has been in agreement for decades about the dangers of smoking. But with the emergence of e-cigarettes or vapes, there’s a new way of smoking that has been marketed as “safer” than traditional cigarettes.”

However, many vapes still contain tobacco and other harmful chemicals that you inhale directly into your lungs.

Smith-Bernal added: “E-cigarettes are not the solution to a smoking problem. Talk to a doctor about other ways to ease off of a nicotine addiction that don’t include harming your lungs.”

Build and maintain positive social relationships

Building and maintaining positive social relationships throughout life is crucial for our well-being. Recently, the United States Surgeon General raised concern about a “loneliness epidemic,” which became even more pronounced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Smith-Bernail said: “Loneliness can have severe consequences for both physical and mental health, including increased stress, depression, and even a higher risk of certain chronic illnesses.”

Smith-Bernal recommends volunteering time and skills to help others in your community. This is because volunteering allows you to make a positive impact and provides opportunities to meet like-minded people who share your interests and values.

Smith-Bernal added “You can also discover other social activities in your community, such as local sports leagues or art classes.

Technology can also be a valuable tool for finding and maintaining social connections. Online resources such as meetup groups and social networking platforms provide opportunities to connect with people who share your interests or hobbies.”

How to effectively manage stress 

Managing stress is essential for maintaining good health, as constant stress can strain the body and increase your risk of disease.

Smith-Bernal said: “Healthy eating, regular exercise, positive social interactions, and getting enough sleep are all critical components of stress management.

“By adopting these habits, you’re improving your health and actively reducing stress levels in both your mind and body.”

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