living longer

People Everywhere Are Living Longer – Here’s 4 Ways That You Can Too

Recent studies have shown that life expectancy has doubled in the last 150 years. If living longer is your goal, here are some things you can do.

While many sites boast “quick trick” scams to getting celeb-style thin, fast, we prefer to promote healthy living that has a more meaningful outcome. We have 4 tricks here that are critical to living longer. But first:

Life expectancy – what’s that about? And how can I figure mine out?

Life expectancy of an individual varies with age, gender, diet, weight, education, and family history. If you want, you can calculate your life expectancy here.

Keep in mind calculators like this are speculative and based on statistics, often using formulas that aren’t updated regularly (some, since 2000), according to the Wall Street Journal. They are based on clinical judgement and the mortality rates of our time, all aspects that change constantly.

If you are privileged enough to have control over your lifestyle, you can still get healthier and theoretically add years to your life. That might also make you thinner and buff, but for a more wholesome reason than to look like an Abercrombie model.

Collective life expectancy: by the numbers

Life expectancy has raised an average of four months per year since 1970, worldwide, according to World Bank’s Development Education Program. This is largely a result of increased child mortality and better disease control in most nations, two major issues that lowered life expectancy in the past.

Life expectancy has also doubled in the last 150 years, Slate longevity specialist Laura Helmuth writes. Where people were only living to 35 or 40 in the U.S. a  century and a half ago, the average is now nearly 80.

The top three countries in terms of life-expectancy are Monaco, Macau, and Japan, according to the CIA, with Monaco at 89 and Macau and Japan at 84. The lowest three are Chad, South Africa, and Guinea-Bissau, all at only 49. The United States falls at 78.62, ranking 51st out of 223 nations.

By state, Hawaii and Minnesota top the charts, both with life an expectancy average 81. Mississipi has the lowest at 75.0, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

What affects life expectancy the most?

While genetics do play a role in life expectancy, it has been shown that lifestyle is much more important, according to research from the University of Gothenburg published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Life expectancy is generally longer for higher-income countries and neighborhoods, where people can afford to live healthier lives with ample access to the care they need, proper education, and non-manual employment.

We can attribute longer life expectancy worldwide to medical advances, cleaner water, better nutrition, vaccinations, and antibiotics, among other factors.

Okay, what about those tricks you promised me?

Still want them? Your goal should be to live healthier, not look like a celebrity. We can help you out, luckily, in the longevity department:

  1. Stop worrying. Scientists at Purdue found that constant worrying shortens your lifespan by about 16 years.
  2. Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed life expectancy was shortened by more than 10 years among current smokers, as compared with those who had never smoked.
  3. Spend time on Youtube, and listen to joyful music. University of Maryland scientists found that watching 15 minutes of funny videos can improve blood flow to your heart by 50%, and 26% with joyful music.
  4. Get up from the computer (after you’re finished here, of course), and get some exercise. Research from Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes wrote in The Lancet medical journal that 15 minutes of exercise per day may add three years to a person’s life. 450 minutes per week could add four and a half years, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine.

The best part? This isn’t a scam. Now go forth, and start living longer (or as close as you can).

Cover photo courtesy of Emily Laurel via Flickr. Modified by Curiousmatic.  

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Jennifer Markert