We, as a race, have been having significant improvement in our life expectancy. Now the average life expectancy is 30 years, the greatest gain in 5,000 years of human history.
Humans who have crossed 100 years are increasing at a rate of 51% from 1990 to 2000. The reasons for these dramatic leaps are advances in health, education, and disease prevention and treatments. Along with those, seemingly unimportant everyday habits or circumstances in your past, can influence how long and how well you will live. Let’s see some of those life situations and habits that will push your longevity up.
Born to a young mother
Was your mother under 25, then you are twice as likely to live to 100 as someone born to an older mother, according to scientists. They suspect that younger mother's best eggs go first to fertilization, thus healthier offspring.
Both green and black teas contain a concentrated dose of catechins, substances that help blood vessels relax and protect your heart. You really need only 1 or 2 cups of tea daily to start doing your heart some good—just make sure it's a fresh brew. Some studies show that adding milk may eliminate tea's protective effects on the cardiovascular system, so stick to just lemon or honey.
People who walk for about 30 minutes a day live four times longer than those who walk less, regardless of how much body fat they have, according to a recent study. Similarly, overweight women can improve their heart health by adding just 10 minutes of activity to their daily routine, says recent research.
You don’t drink soda
Scientists in Boston found that drinking one or more regular or diet cola every day doubles your risk of metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, and excess fat around the waist, that increase your chance of heart disease and diabetes. One culprit could be the additive that gives soda its caramel color. You may switch to tea if you need a caffeine hit. If it is fizz you are after, try sparkling water with a splash of juice.
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics that followed 137 African Americans from birth to age 28 found that being overweight at age 14 increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than those without the condition.
A few palm-size servings (about 2 1/2 ounces) of beef, pork, or lamb now and then is no big deal, but eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week ups your risk of colorectal cancer – the third most common type, according to a major report by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Colorectal cancer risk also rises by 42% with every 3 1/2-ounce serving of processed meat (such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats) eaten per day, the report determined.
You eat purple food
Concord grapes, blueberries, red wine: They all get that deep, rich color from polyphenols – compounds that reduce heart disease risk and may also protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to the new research. Polyphenols help keep blood vessels and arteries flexible and healthy. Preliminary animal studies suggest that adding dark grapes to your diet may improve brain function. What's more, in a recent human study, researchers found that eating 1 or more cups of blueberries every day may improve communication between brain cells, enhancing your memory.
Lower-body strength translates into good balance, flexibility, and endurance. As you get older, those attributes are key to reducing your risk of falls and injuries—particularly hip fractures, which often quickly lead to declining health. Having weak thigh muscles is the number one predictor of frailty in old age.
To strengthen them, target your quads with the "phantom chair" move. Stand with back against wall. Slowly walk feet out and slide back down until you’re in a seated position, ensuring knees aren't beyond toes and lower back is pressed against wall. Hold until your thighs tell you. Do this daily, increasing your hold by a few seconds each time.
You have gone through college
A recent Harvard Medical School study found that people with more than 12 years of formal education (even if it's only 1 year of college) live 18 months longer than those with fewer years of schooling. The more education you have, the less likely you are to smoke. In fact, only about 10% of adults with an undergraduate degree smoke, compared with 35% of those with a high school education or less.
You like your friends
Good interpersonal relationships act as a buffer against stress. Knowing you have people who support you keeps you healthy, mentally and physically. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and ages cells faster, ultimately shortening life span by 4 to 8 years, according to one study.
You have healthy friends
If your closest friends gain weight, your chance of doing the same could increase by 57%, according to a study. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it's important to associate with people who have similar goals.
You embrace new challenges
People who consider themselves self-disciplined, organized achievers live longer and have up to an 89% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than the less conscientious, according to studies. When you're good at focusing your attention, you use more brainpower. Set personal or career goals, and challenge yourself to meet them by a certain time. Also, try new things to stimulate your brain.
You do your chores yourself
Just by vacuuming, mopping floors, or washing windows for a little more than an hour, the average person can burn about 285 calories, lowering risk of death by 30%, according to studies. So that way you keep yourself healthy and house clean too.