Thanks to advances in medical care, we are living longer than previous generations, which is undoubtedly a good thing. Life expectancy levels have been increasing for decades now, although it may be a surprise to learn that the US is ranked as low as 43rd on the average life expectancy chart by nation. Thus, it seems there is more that we can be doing and we have a responsibility to stay healthy for the sake of our kids and families. But where does the key to a longer life lie?
Get outside and exercise
Research has found that those who get three hours of exercise each week have cells and DNA that are almost a decade younger. Yes, just a half-hour of exercise a day has major life expectancy advantages. The effects will be greater still if you choose to take it out in the open air because exposing your skin to the light of the sun will enable skin cells to create vitamin D. This helps to fight a host of physical and mental ailments that can reduce your life expectancy: including diabetes, heart disease and depression. The country with the highest life expectancy rates, Monaco, is one where spending time outside is considered natural and it is something you and your kids can easily do as well.
Stay active on the social scene
If you are bringing up kids on your own, sometimes it can be hard to find the time for socializing with friends, but making a bit of time each week for this will really help with your health. Japan is second in the global rankings for life expectancy and the female-dominated society of Okinawa is particularly impressive in that respect – with hundreds of them living past the age of 100. One of the secrets behind this longevity is the strong supportive friendships between its women, so find time for your friends.
A vegetable-based diet
Making fresh vegetables the staple of your diet, rather than meat, is another established key to greater life expectancy. Many of the countries in the top ten are ones where a healthy diet is a norm, like Japan, Monaco, San Marino and Iceland. How easy it will be to achieve it here will depend on your budget, as fresh vegetables often don’t come cheap, but it is also made harder by the fact that healthy eating is just not really promoted culturally in the same way. If you can find the money and willpower to eat healthily, it will help you to lead a longer life in lots of ways. These include reducing your weight and risk of getting heart disease and boosting your intake of antioxidants – which help the body fight the aging process.
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There are lots of factors behind living longer, from healthy eating and exercise to the quality of your friendships and healthcare. Some are easier to embrace than others, but it is important to make the changes you can.