When it comes to living longer, there are some things you can do that are real no-brainers. For example, exercising and eating right are practically a recipe for adding years to your life.
But not every anti-aging secret has to come with such great effort.
Following are four fun, and nearly effortless, age-fighting tricks you can start using today to stay healthy and happy for many more years to come.
Turn back the clock with coloring:
It turns out the old saying, “You’re only as old as you feel,” has a whole lot of truth to it. When researchers from the University of London gathered data on over 6,400 seniors, those who reported feeling more youthful—years younger than their chronological age—were significantly more likely to live a longer healthier life.
In fact, according to the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, folks who reported feeling old had a 41 percent higher mortality risk.1
Experts say when we feel younger we’re more resilient, handle stress better, are naturally more active and have more will to live. Which means, as silly as it might sound, simply adopting some youthful hobbies—such as coloring, playing video games, or riding a bike—could be the easiest anti-aging trick ever.
Stay healthy by smiling more:
According to a Harvard study the power of positive thinking could help keep us healthy, literally reducing our risk for getting sick and helping us to live longer.
When researchers crunched the numbers from the large, long-term Nurse’s Health Study they found the most optimistic women were significantly more likely to live a longer and healthier life.
Smiling in the face of adversity cut the ladies risk for dying from cancer by 16 percent, heart disease by 38 percent, respiratory illness by 38 percent, stroke by 39 percent and infection by 52 percent, according to the study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology.2
In other words, sometimes faking it until you make it really does work. So go ahead and put on a happy face, even if it feels a bit silly at first. It could literally help protect your health.
Live longer with social media:
According to experts connecting with friends on social media sites such as Facebook could add years to your life.
We already knew that people who have more real world social connections are typically healthier and get sick less often. But when researchers compared the data for 12 million Facebook users and non-users they were surprised to learn the same is true for online relationships too.
According to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, folks who spend time on Facebook being social and interacting with their friends have a healthy 12 percent lower mortality risk.3
The reason why? Experts say no matter whether it’s online or offline, staying connected with friends lowers your stress levels and provides a support system for when things get tough. And that translates into better health and living longer.
Add years to your life with soothing music:
Each of your chromosomes is capped off with a layer of proteins known as a telomere. Telomeres act much like the tip on a shoelace, protecting your chromosomes from damage.
The longer your telomeres, the slower you age. And it turns out not getting enough good quality shuteye could end up shaving years off your life. A study, published in the journal PLoS One, linked getting less than seven hours of sleep a night to significantly shorter telomeres.4 While getting plenty of sleep could essentially give you the telomeres of a much younger person.
And it turns out the trick to doing just that could be as simple is settling down to listen to some soothing music before bed. When a group of older adults with sleeping problems listened to soft music for 45 minutes before bed they had a 35 percent improvement in their quality of sleep, according to research published in The Journal of Advanced Nursing.5
In a later study, researchers confirmed listening to 45 minutes of classical music before sleep can significantly improve sleep quality.6 Not a classical music fan? No problem! Experts say any soothing music should work. Just look for something with a relatively slow beat, and preferably without words.
It’s true that you can’t stop time from marching forward. But you can change how that time affects you. Why not give one—or all four—of these “silly,” science-backed age-fighters a try?
1. “Feeling Old vs Being Old: Associations Between Self-perceived Age and Mortality,” JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175 (2):307-309
2. “Optimism and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study,” Am J Epidemiol (2017) 185 (1): 21-29
3. “Online social integration is associated with reduced mortality risk,” November 15, 2016, vol. 113 no. 46
4. “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Shorter Telomere Length in Healthy Men: Findings from the Whitehall II Cohort Study,” PLoS One. 2012; 7(10): e47292
5. “Music improves sleep quality in older adults,” JAN, Volume 49, Issue 3, February 2005, Pages 234–244
6. “Music improves sleep quality in students,” J Adv Nurs. 2008 May;62(3):327-35
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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