10 Ways to Live Longer

/sites/default/files/ladies-lifestyle/4-12/71ccf9e6868a.jpgLaugh a lot. People with a good sense of humor increased their odds of  survival by 31 percent, according to a 2006 Norwegian study of  critically ill patients. When something strikes you as funny your body  produces less aging stress hormones, explains Dr. Bruce Rabin, medical  director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Healthy  Lifestyle Program. 

Pop Five Pills
 A multivitamin (for maximum absorption, take half at breakfast, half at  dinner); 600 milligrams of DHA/omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) for brain  function; 1000 IU vitamin D for bone and heart health; 600 mgs of  calcium for bones; and 200 mgs of magnesium to counteract the bloat and  constipation that calcium can cause, says Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author  of You: Staying Young.

Take Care of Your Gums
 Flossing your teeth prevents gingivitis, which ages your arteries and  immune system, Dr. Roizen says. Studies show that people with gum  disease have an increased risk of heart disease and a higher mortality  rate.

Talk and Walk
 Walking 30 minutes a day is great - but bringing a friend along is even  better. You not only get the antiaging benefits of physical activity  but also the social contact that helps bolster immunity and reduce  stress, says Dr. Roizen. People over 70 with a lot of friends live an  average of 22% longer than those with few personal connections, a  10-year Australian study found.

Color Your Diet
 The more naturally colorful your diet, the healthier it is. Vibrantly  hued fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants, says Dr. Mark  Liponis, medical director of Canyon Ranch resorts and author of Ultra  Longevity. Fill your grocery cart, lunch bag, and dinner plate with the  colors-of-the-rainbow produce.

Aim for Your Optimal Weight
 Sticking close to your teenage weight is good for your health and your  vanity. Gaining a lot between the ages of 18 and 40 is particularly  dangerous because “every 10% increase in weight raises blood pressure,  and high blood pressure is one of the major factors affecting aging,”  says Dr. Roizen. Plus, lowering your daily caloric intake by 10 to 20%  seems to be linked to a longer life, says Dr. Terry Grossman, co-author  of Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever.

Do Some Good
 People who volunteer live longer and have fewer overall health  problems, including depression and heart disease, than those who don’t,  according to a 2007 review of more than 30 studies. “It’s a way to make  friends and build social networks,and it gives people a sense of  purpose,” Dr. Rabin says.
De-Stress with Intimacy
 Sex has been linked to lower blood pressure and a heartier immune  system. “It relaxes you and helps strengthen your relationship with your  partner, which in turn increases longevity,” explains Dr. Grossman. To  wit, one study found that women who said they enjoyed sex loved longer  than those who didn’t. (And see my previous blog showing men who had sex  3 times per week had 50% less heart attacks than those who   
had only infrequent sex).

Finish Those Annoying Tasks
 The burden of leaving a lot unfinished on your to-do list - think  de-cluttering closets or paying a stack of bills - can have the same  cumulative impact on health as a major life event like divorce or a  death, research has shown. This sort of generalized stress can age you  the equivalent of eight years, Dr. Roizen says.

Hit the Sack
 Seven to eight hours of sleep a night is ideal, research shows. “Sleep  deprivation increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes,  and weakens your immune system,” explains Dr. Liponis. To achieve the  deepest rest, he recommends sleeping in a cool, pitch-dark room - use  eyeshades for a blackout effect if you need to.