Getting More Mileage Out of Life

Do you ever get those spam phone calls that claim to be calling about your vehicle’s extended warranty? Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead, someone was calling to give you tips about an extended warranty on your life?

Tips for Living a Longer Life

Turns out there are a lot of tips for living a longer life. But which practices are backed by scientific data? How is the length of your life affected by uncontrollable factors, such as genetics, access to health care or Medicare, and proximity to crime? 

The average life expectancy across the globe was 72 - 74 years of age as of 2016, with countries including Hong Kong, Japan, and Macau leading the average. What is it about these countries that has people living well into their 80s, while in India, Mexico, and the United States life expectancy ranges from 69 - 78 years of age? While some variables are hard to nail down, it’s most likely related to diet, city infrastructure, and the emphasis put on giving the elderly good quality of life.

Quality vs Quantity

According to the National Library of Medicine, reducing caloric intake anywhere between 10-50% can help you live longer. We all know caloric intake vs caloric output is key to maintaining, losing, or gaining weight. But your physical appearance isn’t the only benefit. Studies show that when animals reduced their consumption of certain foods, they lived longer than animals fed their normal diet.

With the help and guidance of your doctor and a nutritionist, you can determine what your ideal caloric needs are, and which sources of those calories are best for you and your health goals.

Go Nuts

When avoiding overeating, it’s important to choose foods that are nutrient-rich so you get the energy you need while also feeling full and satisfied. A good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants is nuts. They also contain a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals, and studies show including three servings of nuts into your daily diet lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, and decreases the risk of diabetes.

Plant-Based Foods

A primarily plant-based diet can lower the risk of death from cancer and hormonal diseases up to 52%. This life longevity can not only be attributed to the antioxidants in plants but to the lifestyle that often accompanies vegetarian or vegan diets. 

15 Minutes for Three Years

According to a study conducted in Taiwan between 1996 and 2008, participants who exercised 92 minutes per week increased their life expectancy by three years. Published via The Lancet, the data suggests that even exercising just 15 minutes per day can reduce one’s mortality rate. Spending 15 minutes engaged in moderate physical activity sounds like a good trade-off for enjoying three additional years of living!

Protect Your Assets

No, we’re not talking about your house, car, or boat. Although, if you are in throes of financial distress, it can have a negative impact on your health. What we’re referring to here is your DNA. You have to work with what you’ve been given by your parents, which might mean undergoing genetic testing to see what disease you’re susceptible to. Knowing if you’re predisposed for certain types of cancers, heart problems, or blood clotting disorders. You may not be able to prevent the onset of some diseases, but you can reduce the symptoms with early changes to your lifestyle. 

You may be familiar with the instance of actress Angelina Jolie having a preventative mastectomy; she had a genetic screening conducted that concluded she was at risk of someday having breast cancer, due to mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Rather than wait and see, she opted to have breast tissue removed to reduce the likelihood of being afflicted with breast cancer in the future.

Limit Libations

It’s true that moderate alcohol consumption should not negatively impact your health. Many of us already know that wine contains significant amounts of antioxidants that can be good for us. However, it is recommended that alcohol be limited to the following:

Recommended Alcohol Intake for Women

  • 1 - 2 units per day (one unit is 10ml)

  • No more than seven units per week

Recommended Alcohol Intake for Men

  • 3 units or less per day (one unit is 10ml)

  • No more than 14 units per week

By following the recommendations above, you are still able to enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverage while taking care of your physical and mental health. To make sure you don't suffer any of the after-effects of drinking alcohol, be sure to slowly drink water alongside your beverage, accompany it with some food, and you may even want to use an Asian Flush Patch from somewhere like Flush Off, to reduce any red blemishes to your skin.

No Smoking

We’ve talked about what you should do, but what about things you shouldn’t do? To get increased mileage out of your life, avoid smoking at all costs. Not only is it a costly habit, but it has detrimental health side effects. Smoking has been shown to reduce life expectancy by up to 10 years, and it paves the way for a slew of health issues. Smoking can also complicate existing conditions.

Diseases Caused, or Exacerbated, by Smoking

  • Asthma 

  • Buerger’s Disease

  • Cancer

  • COPD

  • Diabetes

  • Gum Disease

  • Heart Disease

  • Stroke

  • HIV

  • Vision Loss

  • Infertility (not a disease, but fertility can be negatively affected by smoking)

Say “NO” to Stress

Easier said than done, it’s important to limit exposure to stress in your life. Statistics show that women are two times more likely to die from heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer if they chronically live with anxiety. For men, they are three times more likely to experience premature death when they live with chronic high stress. Constantly facing stress affects your heart rate, which can affect your overall health. If you’re curious, LifeSpan explains more about a healthy heart rate in this article HERE.

Don’t Cut Yourself Off

In studies involving patients already living with coronary artery disease (CAD), it was determined that those with fewer people in their corner were at a greater risk of mortality. In contrast, CAD patients with a strong social support system had a 200% decreased mortality rate. Isolating yourself from others can increase your feelings of depression, and stress, and reduce your body’s immune response. So whether your social circle is as intimate as three or as vast as thirty, it can positively affect the health of your heart and brain. Be sure you’re surrounding yourself with people you trust, and that you’re doing what you can to strengthen your relationships.

While there’s no owner’s manual for your life, that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out ways to get more mileage out of it!

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