A.) 5 WELLNESS PRACTICES TO HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
It’s a subject that has always intrigued scientists – why do some people, especially in certain cultures such as Japan, live a longer life than others? And, if you’re lucky enough to join the Centurion Club, what is the secret to staying fit, healthy and happy into your golden years?
More and more studies are revealing that certain practices and wellness methods are responsible for increased longevity. Want to drink from the foundation of youth? These life-lengthening wellness strategies could add more candles to your birthday cake.
A separate study, from the University of Warwick, found that sleeping less than six hours or more than nine increased risk of early death. It’s not just about quantity but quality. The latest nocturnal health trend is ‘clean sleeping’, as advocated by Gwyneth Paltrow’s nutritionist Doctor Frank Lipman. Poor-quality sleep can be unsettling for metabolism and hormones, which can impair immune systems and lead to disease. He recommends sleeping in a dark room (no iPhone screens!), at a cool temperature and taking soothing supplements such as Magnesium and herbs like lemon balm and chamomile to ensure your body can repair overnight and wake up energised.
“Poor-quality sleep can be unsettling for metabolism and hormones, which can impair immune systemsand lead to disease.”
We’re all more sedentary than we like to admit, so what can we do about it? During the day, use ‘micro-workouts’ to inject moments of movement. “One of the easiest ways is to pace or walk on the spot whilst talking on the phone,” says Williamson, “At work, set a timer to go off every hour, stand up and stretch. Plus, always, always take the stairs!”
“Studies tell us that if you spend most of the rest of the day sitting… you are still putting yourself at greater risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death.”
3. STRETCH YOUR LIFE
Tao Porchon-Lynch is a legend. At 98 years old she is the world’s oldest known yoga teacher. Throughout her life she has been an actress, model and activist. She famously wowed judges auditioning for ‘America’s Got Talent’ with her 26-year-old dance partner. SOURCE: Mashable News
A regular yoga practise is shown to enhance lung and heart function, reduce inflammation and aid recovery from certain forms of cancer. A British study found that yoga, coupled with meditation, can even alter our DNA and reduce the impact of stress on our bodies that lead to poor health.
The world’s oldest yoga teacher, who gets up at. 5.30am every morning, also believes ageing is all about mindset and credit her personal mantra, “Anything is possible.”
“A regular yoga practise is shown to enhance lung and heart function, reduce inflammation and aid recovery from certain forms of cancer.”
Lying on your back with your arms to the side (palms facing the floor), bend your knees so that your feet are on the floor, hip distance apart, and your toes are pointing forward. Take a deep breath and gently lift your hips toward the ceiling, keeping your body in a straight line. Hold for about 15 to 20 seconds and repeat.
Begin on all fours with hands shoulderwidth apart and knees beneath your hips. Bring your right knee forward between your hands and rest it next to your right wrist. Your right heel should be beneath or close to your left hip. Stretch your left leg straight back behind you. Keep your hips facing forward and square with the front of your mat. Hold your body in an upright position for a 10-count, and then reach your body forward and feel it relaxing into the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.
Lying on your back with your glutes against the wall, stretch your feet and legs up against the wall. Take a deep breath and simply relax. You can rest your hands and arms wherever you feel comfortable. You will love this restorative pose if you are on your feet all day. Remain in this pose for as long as you need.
Lying on your back, lift your legs and bring your knees toward you. Reach your arms between your knees to grasp your big toes or the outsides of your feet if you can. Bring your tailbone back down to the floor. Let your knees fall down to the sides wider than your shoulders, and breathe deeply for 20 seconds. Rock gently from side to side to help release your back.
Sourced from Princess Cruises
4. EAT LIKE AN ELDER
“When food is metabolised into energy it produces unstable molecules (or free radicals) which can accumulate in our systems”
“Constant happiness is unachievable…
But, it’s beneficial to practise gratitude and forgiveness”.
5. LET GO OF YOUR GRUDGE
Constant happiness is unachievable. But, it’s beneficial to practise gratitude and forgiveness. A study in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine found that people who could only practise ‘conditional forgiveness’ (when your forgiveness relies on another person earning it) died before people who forgave unconditionally. The lesson? Let it go to live a longer – and happier – life.
Featuring statistics from Princess Cruises’ 2017 Sleep Study.
B. 5 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES THAT CAN HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
Angelina Litvin via Unsplash.com Source: Patheos
In the March, 2017, edition of the AARP Bulletin (yes, I’m a proud card-carrying member of the AARP), there’s an article titled “50 Great Ways to Live Longer”. The list includes obvious activities like getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, staying hydrated and eating your veggies, as well as more surprising actions like taking vitamin D regularly and drinking three to five cups of coffee a day.
What interested me most though were 5 activities that I would classify as spiritual in nature. I’ve written about each of these actions in the past, so below you’ll find a quick write-up of each “great way”, followed by a link to a more detailed story on the subject for those who want to take a deeper dive.
- Find your purpose. As the AARP article points out, one key to happiness is being able to wake up each morning and look forward to something, like “helping your children or interacting in a community of like-minded folks.” Yet, I believe we need to go a step further and identify our calling—the activity in life at the intersection of what we’re good at and what we like to do. See: Finding your way on the winding path we call life.
- Embrace your faith. The story says that researchers have found “attending religious services have been shown to add between four and 14 years to life expectancy”. But if you’re like many who find themselves on the pages of Patheos Spirituality, you may have given up on organized religion. No problem. You can still embrace the spiritual side of yourself by starting your own religious practice that you engage in daily. See: A Ten Step Guide to starting your own religious practice.
- Vacation…or else. One study showed that for men at high risk of coronary artery disease, “those who failed to take annual vacations were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack.” Yet we all know that if you’re working a full-time job, it can be tough to get away as much as we would like or for as long as we would like. Which is why we need to work micro-vacations into our life. See: How a Pocket of Stillness can help you find Inner Peace.
- Get social. The article reports that “loneliness increases the risk of early death by 45 percent,” weakening the immune system, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes. The issue: Many of us are stuck in our routines and don’t do enough to interact with those around us. John Templeton provides some great advice on being more social with an easy way to connect with al you encounter. See: How to be an even better you (by remembering 3 simple things).
- Walk. “What’s the best prescription for a longer life? Exercise.” I’ve long included exercise as part of my morning ritual, my early morning run serving as a meditation session in motion. If you don’t like running or walking, then find a way, anyway, to move on a regular basis: swim, dance, bike, take a fitness class, whatever. Just do something. See: Jack LaLanne on improving your spiritual and mental well-being in 10 easy steps.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “It’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.” While we agree with Abe, we’re wondering why we can’t have both. With improved medicine and better education about how to care for ourselves, we’re living longer nowadays and healthier too. But there are plenty of little things you can do every day to supercharge your longevity.
1. Step away from the remote.
Face it. You know the more time you spend on Netflix, binging on marathon TV sessions, the less likely you are to pull yourself away and make time for the gym. But here’s some scary news. An Australian study of 8,800 adults with no history of heart disease found a correlation between the amount of time spent sitting in front of the TV and your risk of premature death and heart disease. Participants who watched four or more hours of TV per day were nearly 50 percent more likely to die from any cause than those who limited their TV consumption to under two hours.
Still not convinced? Researchers calculated that each additional hour of TV watched means you’re 11 percent more likely to die from any cause. No TV show is worth that risk. Not even “Dancing With The Stars.”
2. Eat a handful of nuts every day.
In recent years we’ve heard all about the benefits of omega-3s and their heart-health goodness. But if you can’t stomach those fishy-smelling capsules, try adding nuts to your daily diet.
In a 30-year study, Harvard researchers found that people who ate nuts every day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause during the study, than those who didn’t. The more frequently people ate nuts, the lower their risk of death was.
Experts point to nuts’ cholesterol-balancing qualities as the reason they’re so darn good for your life expectancy. So try adding some walnuts to your morning oatmeal or chopped almonds to your salad for a longer, healthier life.
3. Ease up on the red meat.
It’s alright to enjoy the occasional steak or treat yourself at your favorite burger joint — just don’t overdo it. One studyfound that women and men who were initially healthy became more likely to develop heart disease and cancer if they regularly indulged in red meat. A daily serving of red meat upped the likelihood of death by 13 percent while processed meat upped the chances by 20 percent. Processed meats, like hot dogs and lunch meats, have frequently been linked to cancer and heart disease.
But the good news is, swapping out red meats with other proteins like fish, chicken, and even dairy products can lower your mortality risk.
4. Go for a jog.
We know the immediate benefits of exercise — the post-workout endorphin release, a clearer mind, and lower blood pressure just to name a few. But do many of us think of the longterm benefits other than what exercise can do for our waistlines?
Here’s some good news for the runners out there and some motivation for the rest of us. Danish researchers believe without a doubt that jogging is key to extending your life. “We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity,” researcher Peter Schnohr said in a release. “The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.”
Schnohr’s study found that jogging can increase life expectancy in men by over six years for men and over five years for women when they jogged just one to two and a half hours total per week. That’s enough to get us moving.
5. Find your Zen.
We’re all about mindfulness and its stress-busting, brain-protecting, whole-body goodness here at The Huffington Post.
So we were really thrilled to find out that mindfulness can help you live a longer, healthier life. A study at University of California-Davis found people who regularly practice meditation have higher levels of telomerase. That’s the enzyme responsible for lengthening the telomeres at the ends of your chromosomes, which affect aging.
Similarly, another study found that cancer patients who combined meditation with other healthy lifestyle changes over several years were able to lengthen their telomeres.
Besides, meditation is an excellent way to manage stress and your blood pressure, which can in turn protect you from a number of diseases.
EARLIER ON HUFFPOST50
D.) 5 TOTALLY EASY DAILY PRACTICES LINKED TO LIVING A LONGER , HEALTHIER LIFE
For years, Americans have had a lower average life expectancy than countries like Japan, Greece, and New Zealand. A new study published in The Lancet predicts American life expectancy will increase just two to three years by the year 2030. On the other hand, the average life expectancy in South Korea is expected to increase by seven to eight years in that same time period.
So, where are we falling short?
Looking at how to change your lifestyle in an effort to live longer is the focal point of Z Living’s show Change The Day You Die. Each episode, one person gets a chance to reset their life with healthy habits to help ensure a longer life. Check out more about the show here, and find out where to watch.
In that vein, and that of our country’s less-than-ideal mortality rates, we looked at a few different methods Americans can adopt to live longer, healthier lives:
1. Practice Japan’s Method Of Hara Hachi Bu.
The Japanese island of Okinawa is known for having one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, with the greatest proportion of centenarians — people over 100 years old — in the world. This trend is largely credited to a practice called Hara hachi bu, which is a Confucian lesson that instructs people to eat only until they’re 80% full. So follow the Okinawans’ lead and avoid the classic American tradition of cleaning your plate, especially with our country’s infamously large portions.
2. Bury Your Nose In A Good Book.
While you’d imagine that most methods of increasing life expectancy would be food-or-exercise related, how you use your brain also plays a big role. We covered a study by Yale University that examined the mortality rates and reading habits of nearly 4,000 people over 12 years. Looking at subjects over the age of 50, it found that regular readers survived around two years longer than those who didn’t read. So grab a book or a magazine, stat!
3. Try A Fish- and Plant-Based Diet.
This piece from Health.com looks at nations like Okinawa with higher life expectancy rates, and breaks down some of the dietary commonalities among them. Among its many findings, some of the most tried-and-true are that plant-rich diets and regular consumption of fish leads to longer lives. The article even says that middle-aged people who consume the equivalent of a cup of cooked greens daily are half as likely to die in the in the near future than those who eat no greens. For more inspiration, check out our fish-loving food show, The Posh Pescatarian.
4. Take Up Swimming & Racquet Sports.
Any health expert will tell you that regular physical activity is your best bet for staying healthy and living longer. Getting more specific, multiple studies have placed swimming and racquet sports as the most effective in terms of elongating your life. This piece from Medical News Today looks at a nine-year study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and found that swimmers and racquet-sport enthusiasts lived longer than the rest, with aerobics lovers and cyclists following closely behind.
5. Laugh. Giggle. Chuckle. As Much As Possible!
You’ve likely heard that laughter and happiness are good for the heart and can help curb stress. Additionally, we covered a study from University of Maryland, which found that a sense of humor can protect people from heart attacks and heart disease, which is our country’s number one killer. So, seek out the funny stuff in life! Hit a comedy show, YouTube up a silly cat video, or call that old friend who loves to joke around to give yourself the best chance at leading a long and healthy life.