Stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, poor mental health and, more importantly, it can shorten your life span. The best way to beat stress? Take a break from the daily grind, even if it's only for a short period of time. Can't get off work for a full week? Try taking a long weekend here and there and do something you enjoy or to just relax.
Caring for a pet is another way to extend your life. Studies have shown that the companionship and unconditional love that pets give people a boost after a tough day, during life stress and after the loss of a loved one. Petting a dog or a cat not only lowers the petters blood pressure, but also the animals. And, taking your dog for a walk is great exercise.
Have sex and live longer? So true - for people in committed relationships, that is. Sex releases several hormones and endorphins in the body, boosting your mood and fighting disease. It also increases intimacy and bonding, and fights loneliness and depression. It also can be a good workout - if you put some extra effort into it.
Spend time with friends. A 2005 study from Australian researchers looked at 1,500 people, age 70 and older, over a 10-year period and found that those who had strong social networks were most likely to be alive at the end of the study period, compared to those who do not have close ties with friends. It also found that the people with whom the study participants shared a close friendship also tended to live longer. Oddly, close relationships with children and relatives did not have the same life-lengthening effect.
Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep are at high-risk for obesity, high-blood pressure and heart disease. Not surprisingly, all of those things will shorten your life-span. Furthermore, sufficient sleep allows the body to repair cellular damage and strengthen the immune system. So how much sleep do you need? Studies vary, however; the majority have shown that more than 8 hours and less than 6 hours sleep each night is harmful. Most scientists recommend 7 to 8 hours per night to stay healthy.
Women and men should see their doctors regularly, especially for annual physicals. Women also need to get annual pelvic exams beginning at age 18 or when they first become sexually active, whichever comes first. They also need to get annual mammograms beginning at age 40. Men over the age of 40 should check with their doctor about whether they need annual colonoscopies and prostate exams. The key to beating any disease, especially cancer, is catching it early.
Think positive. Yes, it is cliche, but so very true. Numerous studies have found that optimists live longer, stay healthier and are more likely to beat illness than their grumpy counterparts. So when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
A 2006 study by University of Chicago researchers found that people who are married live longer than those who are single. The study found that married men live an average of 10 years longer than their unmarried counterparts and married women live about 4 years longer than single women. Why? For men, it appears that married men adopt their wives healthier lifestyles and are less likely to take risks. Women appear to benefit from the financial security that marriage offers.
Drinking wine, especially red wine, in moderation (1 glass per day for women; 2 glasses for men) has been shown in studies to prevent heart disease and increase longevity. Wine is high in the antioxidant resveratrol, which helps prevent free radicals from damaging cells. In some studies, resveratrol has even been shown to slow tumor growth. Scientists have been studying ways to pack resveratrol's life-extending powers into a pill. Stay tuned for that ...
Follow these simple steps for a longer, healthier life