Healthy Habits That Can Help You Live Longer and Simple Ways to Stick With Them

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The question of how to live longer and how to increase your health duration, not just lifespan, is an age-old quest. But recent research has narrowed down some possible answers to longevity. You’ve probably heard them before: Eat nutritious foods, move more often, moderate your alcohol intake, don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight and sleep well.

Turns out, this list isn’t just for those in good health who want to spend a few more years playing pickleball and rolling ages, it’s also a powerful approach even for those with chronic conditions.

A recent study published in Age and aging examined nearly 50,000 people across Japan over a 20-year period and found that these six habits, even when adopted later in life, were associated with longer life expectancy. This was true even for participants with chronic conditions like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The biggest challenge isn’t just developing these healthy habits, it’s sticking with them. Fortunately, sometimes it only takes one significant change to gain momentum. Here are some simple tactics to help you adopt healthy habits that help you live longer and how to incorporate them into your daily life.

Healthy habit: eating well

Focus on: getting more fiber

Many studies have pointed to plant-based eating as a way to improve nutrition, and a lot of that has to do with fiber. On average, only 7.4% of American adults meet the recommended daily fiber intake, according to a study presented at the Nutrition 2021 Live online conference.

Health guidelines from the Institute of Medicine recommend eating 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories, which means that to achieve this goal, you would need to eat about 25 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet. Here’s the good news: it really doesn’t take long to see significant effects.

According to a study published in the journal, even just two weeks of a high-fiber diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can change your gut health in ways that help you absorb nutrients better. mSystems. It can improve more than just your digestion, says the study’s lead author, Katrine Whiteson, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at the University of California, Irvine.

She says Ride a bike that better gut health can reduce inflammation in the body, reduce the risk of chronic disease and boost immune health. All of these findings can have a significant effect on healthy aging.

Healthy habit: move more

Focus on: making it attractive

Whether you want to establish a whole new fitness habit or are looking to build on what you already have going, choose the same time each day to exercise to fit it into your regular routine. But here’s the hack: once in a while, switch it up.

This means swapping your 7am start time with a 7:23am start, changing the pace, route or terrain of your course, adding new exercises to your strength training, or trying a new workout. every month, like running. or Pilates or a bootcamp class.

Our brains love novelty, and finding even small ways to add it to your fitness routine triggers a cascade of responses that can improve your training. A study in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews found that novelty stimulates perception, increases motivation, and improves learning.

“Introducing different movements to the body provides the brain with additional knowledge and keeps it interesting, which makes it easier to turn it into a habit,” said strength and conditioning coach Rocky Snyder, CSCS, author of the guide to strength training. Back to center recount Ride a bike.

Healthy habit: stop smoking

Focus on: playing sports to fight cravings

There are many recommendations for quitting smoking, from using nicotine replacement products to hypnosis. But here’s one with a bigger ripple effect: go for another round.

Not only will this help cleanse your cardiorespiratory system, but research into the British Journal of Pharmacology suggests that exercise (in this case, it was running) can significantly reduce food cravings. Although this study was done on mice, the researchers noted that the effect is likely similar for humans. Those who went for a run every day had significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms compared to a sedentary group.

According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that even short bursts of fitness, and especially aerobic exercise, can reduce the urge to smoke, with the effect lasting up to an hour after your workout.

Healthy habit: sleep better

Focus on: your weekly hours

By now, we all know the standard advice of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, or else you may be sleep deprived. But what if that advice isn’t as set in stone as it seems?

“There’s more debate about this in the sleep research community than you might think,” says W. Chris Winter, MD, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, and author of The sleep solution. He says Ride a bike that some researchers suggest that what matters is how much sleep you get each week — not at night — and people tend to do best by putting in around 50 to 56 hours on average.

“It makes it easier for people who may stay up late on some weeknights and then need to sleep longer on other nights or take naps to hit that number,” he says.

Instead of focusing on eight rock-solid nighttime hours, a better approach is to track variables like daytime sleepiness and energy levels, as well as how long it takes you to fall asleep, and count your number of hours per week to see if more or less makes a difference.

There’s no guarantee that implementing all of these habits will make you live longer, but as you pile them on, you have a much better chance of living a healthier life.

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