Life eventually catches up with us all, as we settle into middle age, then move on to our 60s, 70s, and 80’s. But gone are those days when you start expecting the grim reaper to knock on your door once you are past 60. These days, we are living longer, healthier, fuller lives.

If you too would like to live a long, productive life, here are 10 simple tips to start implementing today:

Ditch the cigarette: No two ways about it; smoking is an enemy of longevity. If you are looking to extend your life expectancy, quit smoking because it increases your risk for osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, emphysema, and other serious lung problems. If you are a smoker, you will notice that you often find exercising more difficult than non-smokers do, as you find it harder to expand your lungs to take in deep breaths.

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Good nutrition is a must: There is hardly any article on health that does not circle back to good nutrition and diet, because you cannot just make do without it. Studies have now shown that a good and healthy diet can make you less susceptible to health challenges such as hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and cataracts that affect a lot of people as they age. A good diet means cutting back on meat intake, increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, avoiding trans fats, eating more protein and fibre than you eat carbs, and generally striking a healthy balance between the calories you ingest and the calories you expend.

Maintain a healthy body weight: It becomes just a little harder to maintain healthy body weight as we age, but it can definitely be done. If you are currently overweight, shedding as little as five percent of your total body weight reduces your risks for weight-related diseases significantly and improves your longevity just a little bit. And if you are at a good weight, holding the line at that current weight is a great idea in order to enhance longevity.

Make physical activity a habit: Maintaining a healthy body weight will require you to follow a good nutrition plan as well as have a regular exercise routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day. If you cannot engage in vigorous activities, go for a walk. And the good news is that you don’t have to take all your 30 minutes in one slot. You can choose to break this up into 2 15 minutes slot per day or 3 10 minutes slots if that’s what works for you. But whatever you do, get moving.

Make good friends and hang out with them: Be socially active by hanging out with your friends and family. This makes for emotional stability, and people in positive relationships are more likely to take care of themselves. So always make time for friends and family.

Floss daily: This sounds so out there, but flossing daily can actually improve your life expectancy because it not only prevents gum disease but also prevents heart disease. The way it does this is amazing. Flossing protects your gums from getting inflamed and the risks of developing a chronic mouth bacterial infection reduce. Mouth bacterial infections, on the other hand, can cause bacteria to find their way into your arteries, causing your body to mount an immune response to, causing inflammation, which then can cause the arteries to narrow.

Have more sex: Sex triggers all sorts of hormones and endorphins in the body, some of which have been found to help with healthy aging and increasing life expectancy.

Destress: Stress causes unhealthy effects on the body in the long run. The first way it does this is to cause direct, unhealthy effects of stress on your body. Secondly, stress triggers negative unhealthy behaviors such as comfort eating and smoking that reduce life expectancy. To destress, learn meditation, try some yoga, a cup of tea, a warm bath, listening to music, taking a walk.

Always go for your medical check-ups: Never ever skip on a medical check-up. Medical tests and screenings help to catch diseases early when they are still a little more manageable and treatable. This means an extension in life expectancy even if you are living with an illness or disease.

Watch a little less TV and spend a little less time on social media: Watching TV for too long or being online for too long makes you inactive, makes you eat more junk food, and keeps you from doing other things such as exercising or getting some fresh air. It is said that the average person watches about four hours of TV every day. This is alarming and you can start doing something to change this, starting today.

Here are 7 foods you should be eating if you are aiming for longevity

Brightly colored fruit and vegetables: The natural pigments in brightly colored vegetables help to prevent cancer.

Dark chocolate: Cocoa beans are packed full of antioxidants which can help cut your risk of heart disease.

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Oily fish: Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout have great health benefits, being good sources of vitamins A and D and being rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, brain damage and stroke.

Green tea: Green tea helps to regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, and boost the immune system.

Olive oil: The good kind of fat which is monounsaturated fats is essential for good health and can be found in olive oil. So, go for olive oil instead of butter or regular oil.

Garlic: Garlic contains immune-enhancing compounds that work to break down the substances that cause cancer.

Cranberries: These are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial fruits that also boost the immune system.



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