How to Live a Longer Life: 5 Keys to Longevity
Though we have no control over our genetic makeup, we can control our attitudes and behavior. It is well within our power to make conscious choices that enhance both the longevity and quality of our lives. The key, say the experts, is a holistic lifestyle that integrates physical, mental, intellectual, and social wellbeing. Equally as important is an environment with the right facilities to support and promote healthy aging.
As we ponder how to live a longer life, it’s important to consider all the factors that influence our total wellbeing.
Brain health is a critical piece of the aging puzzle, but maintaining it requires more than just the daily crossword. Engaging in activities that challenge the mind, like learning a new skill, taking a class or taking part in a vigorous debate helps preserve memory function and keeps those brains cells firing on all cylinders.
You Gotta Have Friends
Isolation is a serious threat to our physical and mental health as we age. Active adults with strong social networks have a lower risk of depression and are less likely to develop dementia in later years. Staying connected to family and friends, even virtually, can be hugely beneficial. But becoming part of an active adult community that offers unlimited in-person social opportunities can lead to new and enriching relationships and better health.
A sedentary lifestyle is not what the doctor ordered for our golden years. Physical activity for 30-45 minutes a day will lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. You don’t have to run laps around the track. Natural movements while gardening, walking, swimming or biking to your errands will yield results.
A Reason to Get Up in the Morning
Studies show that older adults who feel a sense of purpose live longer, happier lives. Whether it's painting in the garden, meeting with a book club, sharing your favorite workout class with friends or volunteering to help others, engaging in activity that is meaningful to you is central to your health.
Nourish the Spirit
Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, it may be the practice of religion. For others, it may be meditation, yoga, tai chi or a moment of solitude in the garden. Taking a moment to stop and smell the roses and get in touch with your inner self lowers the risk of chronic illness and depression.
We are What We Eat
Healthy eating choices will improve strength, and balance, boost the immune system and contribute to overall well being. As we age, it becomes less about how much we eat and more about the quality of our meals. Aim for a colorful plate filled with fruits, veggies, nuts, and protein and stay away from sugary drinks and desserts.
Location, Location, Location
Where we live is as important as how. A home that was once perfect for the family may not be as senior-friendly as it should be and can increase the risks of serious injury. A turnkey environment that is completely stress-free and created to accommodate the needs of the 55+ community can significantly improve not only our enjoyment of life but our overall wellness.
When the question is how to live a longer life, the answer is both simple and complex: Be proactive about nourishing the mind, body, and spirit and you’ll be paid back in both extended time and happiness.