The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.7 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is a bit surprising considering medicine has advanced tremendously over the last couple of decades, resulting in people all over the world living longer. Passing this milestone depends a lot on genes but there are also plenty of actions people can take to control their longevity.
Eating fruits and vegetables every day, sleeping more, exercising, and not smoking are just a few. Other key habits are not as clear. It turns out, a little bit of stress is good because it keeps people alert and occupied. Stress helps our brain produce new neurons, research shows.
The good news is that boosting your health can be done in a lot more – and psychologically less challenging – ways than going to the gym every day and skipping the dessert after dinner. The body is a complicated system that, thankfully, doesn’t require complicated acts to keep it healthy and in shape. It really comes down to making simple choices on a consistent basis.
Improving your health may require many easy steps but taking them all at once is a setup for failure. Start simple with developing just one good habit and then add on. You may want to start by calling your mother more often, science says. A study shows that just hearing her voice makes your body produce oxytocin, which enhances your self-esteem and optimism.
You don’t have to do yoga if it’s too boring for you. Several quick stretches a day will do the trick. The American College of Sports Medicine says people need to stretch their muscles at least a couple of minutes every week. Stretching helps you stay flexible, increase your motions range, eases tight muscles which are an injury risk. So stretch your arms above your head, move your torso to the side, and don’t forget to stretch the back of your thighs.
2. Go for walks every day
If you are suffering from gym-phobia, don’t despair. Going out for a 30-minute walk every day will suffice. Keeping your body moving is what’s important, not so much where or how. Short walks every day, a study says, can slow down your physiological age by several years. Another research suggests that these half-hour walks can add seven years to your life. Federal guidelines for adults recommend at least 2.5 hours of walking (at the very least)a week.
3. Turn off phones and laptops
Cell phones and laptops and all kinds of other electronics are the No. 1 enemy of staying active. If you don’t keep moving, you have no energy and can’t sleep well. It’s a lot more serious than you think. Staring at a screen before bed reduces the levels of melatonin, a hormone that should increase at night to help you fall asleep. As a result, you take forever to finally get sleepy, your restorative REM sleep is much shorter and you feel a lot tired in the mornings. The rest is like a chain reaction.