People born in the US today can expect to live to 79 years on average. The actual figure is 78.7 years or 78 years and eight months, according to recent data from the CDC.
This is much better than a century ago when life expectancy in the US was only about 54 years. Even better, studies show that if you can live to 65, then chances of getting to 82 are very high as people die at a slower rate between those two ages. Those lucky enough to hit 85 are also more likely to reach 92.
What’s most interesting about these figures, though, is that the main factor that determines how old you can eventually live is your lifestyle.
For instance, the life expectancy of smokers is about 10 years shorter than nonsmokers. So, if you smoke, you’re most likely to die before your 69th birthday. However, if you quit smoking before 40, your chances of dying from a smoking-related cause decreases by 90%, meaning that your life expectancy bounces back to around 75 years.
Alcoholics, i.e., people addicted to alcohol, are also likely to die much earlier than non-drinkers. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, alcoholics die, on average, 24-28 years earlier than people in the general population.
8 Habits Linked to a Long Life
You can already tell that quitting smoking and alcohol are the first steps to a long life. The following are eight other lifestyle changes that can prolong your life.
1. Get enough sunshine
Going outside just 15 minutes a day and exposing your hands and face to sunlight can prolong your life by up to 33%. Why? Because your body critically needs vitamin D, especially as you age. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. It also alleviates depression and is good for heart disease and diabetes, among others. Be careful not to stay in the sun too long.
2. Form strong social relationships
Since the 1980s, studies have shown that people who enjoy close relationships with family and friends are more likely to live longer than their socially isolated counterparts. Two psychological explanations are given. First, people in thriving social relationships are shielded from the negative impacts of stress and crises. Secondly, loving friends and family are more likely to encourage the individual to make healthy life choices.
3. Exercise daily
Regular, moderate activities, such as brisk walking, are associated with longer life expectancy. For instance, studies show that people who engage in moderate exercises for 150 minutes every week live about 7 years longer, on average, compared to those who don’t. Remember that daily exercise doesn’t mean going to the gym. Stretching, free weights and yoga are all excellent exercise choices.
4. Have more sex
You probably saw this one coming. Regular sex can improve your general health, leading to a longer life. In one study, men with a high frequency of orgasms showed a 50% lower mortality rate than their partners who don’t get laid. Different explanations are offered. For instance, the study says that sexual intimacy dampens stress by downplaying stress response systems and up-regulating immune response.
5. Get more plant protein
Recent research shows that people who get their proteins from processed meat such as hot dogs and sausages are more likely to die from heart-related issues. However, those who base their diets on plant proteins, acquiring most of their proteins from plants, are at a lower risk of heart-related deaths. The study shows that increasing plant proteins on your plate by 3% can reduce the chance of death by 10%.
6. Eliminate stressors
Being stressed can shorten your life in two ways. First, stress affects your life directly by causing chronic diseases, especially heart-related conditions such as heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Secondly, stress can shorten your life indirectly through behavioral changes. It makes you suicidal and may cause you to drink or smoke.
7. Limit your calorie intake
Rather than wait to hit the gym to lose weight, you can prolong your life by keeping your calories down from the offset. Animal studies show that reducing average calorie intake by 10% to 50% can increase your time on earth. Meanwhile, excess body weight and belly fat are both linked to shorter life spans. However, don’t overdo it, as extreme calorie cuts can diminish sex drive and cause hunger.
8. Be more self-conscientious
A self-conscientious person is a self-disciplined, self-efficient, highly organized, and goal-oriented individual. You might wonder what these qualities have to do with longer life. Well, scientific research shows that people who are more persistent, organized, and disciplined have an 11% longer life than their less conscientious peers.
Take the Chance
Of course, following these habits linked to a long life doesn’t guarantee that you’ll live to 90+ years. It’s more about increasing the odds. There’s a much higher chance of living longer if you follow all the eight tips than if you ignore all eight.