Living longer and feeling younger are probably two of the most common goals for adults everywhere. Since there are no magic age-erasers to stop or reverse the aging process just yet, it’s up to us to do what we can to slow down the clock.
That may seem daunting, but there are some simple things we can do every day to lead longer, healthier lives and prevent premature aging.
How old are you, really?
The popular RealAge Test, an online health assessment tool taken by over 27 million people, has recently launched a major update. Based on a comprehensive review of the latest medical, nutritional and fitness studies, this update recalculates your biological age, or how old your body thinks you are, based on a wide cross-section of questions covering everything from how much physical activity you get and what you eat to your stress level and how satisfying your sex life is.
Whether you take the test to check in on how well you’re doing when it comes to aging, or just want to know how to lead a healthier life, we get some insight from Dr. Keith Roach, chief medical officer for RealAge, about what it takes to live longer.
How to live longer
Dr. Roach shares some of the most important things you can do to live longer and feel younger based on the current RealAge test, which not only calculates your “real age” but shows you what you can do to lower it.
Lose extra weight
Excess weight, especially abdominal fat, causes damage to the arteries and heart, Dr. Roach explains. Not only will you look and feel better, but maintaining a healthy weight helps reduce your risk of several health problems, including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Eat less red meat
The less red meat you eat, the younger your RealAge, says Dr. Roach. Focusing on adding more vegetables and whole grains to your diet can significantly improve overall health, and a well-balanced vegetarian diet cuts your risk for obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Try these delicious vegetarian recipes and vegan recipes >>
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep — on a regular basis — helps with everything from boosting your energy level to keeping your weight down. Getting at least six hours of sleep a night (but no more than nine hours) can make your RealAge three to four years younger.
Look on the bright side
Positive mood and maintaining a good attitude help all of your body’s vital systems stay in balance, explains Dr. Roach, adding that staying upbeat can make your RealAge 5.2 years younger.
Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to boost overall health and live longer. A daily 30-minute walk is one of the best ways to keep your bones, blood pressure, waistline, joints, energy, arteries and attitude young, Dr. Roach says.
Lower your stress level
According to the RealAge test, chronic stress ages you by increasing your risk of accidents, infections and arterial aging. Reducing stress with meditation or other relaxation techniques can make your RealAge 1.7 years younger, says Dr. Roach, and meditation, relaxation, exercise and connecting with friends are all good ways to do that.
Start strength training
Working out with weights does your muscles and bones a lot of good, and it doesn’t take a ton of time to make a difference. Strength-training for just 10 minutes three times per week can make help you feel better and live longer. The more strength you can build and maintain as you age, the younger you’ll feel – and look.
Say yes to sex
Satisfying sex is an important part of a healthy relationship, and can also help you feel younger and live longer. The surge of hormones that happens during arousal and orgasm leave you feeling calm, and the increase in heart rate and blood flow after climax are good for your organs and circulatory system.
Build strong ties
Reach out to family and friends through e-mails, phone calls and, whenever you can, face-to-face visits. Staying connected works as a buffer for stress, minimizing inflammation, helping make your blood less likely to clot when you’re tense and lowering your risk of a heart attack
Eat to live longer
Do yourself a favor and boost your intake of fruit, colorful vegetables and whole grains. Living a longer life depends on the arsenal of essential nutrients you get from a balanced, healthy diet, heavy on the items listed. Your heart, brain and skin will thank you.