No matter how much time and effort you spend trying to make the most of the years you have left, it’s hard not to worry about what you are — or aren’t — doing to live better. You can’t create more time, but you might be able to earn yourself more of it. The simple secrets to a longer life aren’t a secret anymore. Here’s everything you can start doing today to begin adding years back onto your life.
1. Keeping in touch with friends
Making and keeping friends gets harder as you get older. Don’t let the ones you care about most fade away, though. Research suggests keeping your friends around as you age can help all of you live longer. Bonus points if you’re all super healthy.
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2. Going back to school
When it comes to living a long life, education matters. Some research supports the idea that those with a bachelor’s degree or higher tend to live longer than those who don’t make it through college. Hey, it’s never too late to head back to the classroom.
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There are many benefits to exercising regularly. Possibly one of the best is its impact on your health as you age. It’s good for your brain and for your heart, keeping you healthy both in body and in mind. You don’t have to start running marathons. You don’t even technically need a gym membership.
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4. Or, at the very least, moving a little
Even if you don’t get out for a walk around the block today, at least take a stroll around your living room. Sitting all day is one of the worst habits for your health. Humans were built to move. Again, you don’t have to take it to the extreme. Every little step counts.
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5. Cleaning your house
You have to do it anyway, so why not turn it into an easy workout? Vacuuming, sweeping, and scrubbing doesn’t just rid your environment of disease-causing germs. You can also burn a ton of calories just tidying up your living space.
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Even just a few minutes of mindfulness — being present in the moment — can improve, and maybe even extend, your life. It can help you reduce anxiety and stress, deal with unexpected circumstances, and improve the way you look and feel.
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7. Going to church
Church may not be for everyone, but you might consider spending your Sunday mornings listening to a good old-fashioned sermon. Some research suggests people who attend church regularly might live longer on average than non-churchgoers.
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8. Working — a lot
Working too much might not be good for your health — but staying busy does have its benefits. One study found that participants who considered themselves “hard workers” lived longer on average than those who took things easy.
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9. Drinking wine (but not too much)
Alcohol is good for you — in reasonable amounts. In fact, it might help you live past 90. Limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day ensures you can still enjoy the best things life has to offer without slowly destroying your body.
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10. Drinking coffee
Sure, too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery and totally ruin your relationship with your bed. In small amounts, though, some people find that a little caffeine makes everything better. There’s even some research out there pointing to its longevity benefits.
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11. Drinking green tea
Caffeinated green tea provides similar potential benefits to coffee — with a few extras thrown in. Tea leaves contain compounds called antioxidants, which help combat the negative effects of aging on your body. Many foods, like blueberries, also provide these compounds.
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12. Staying away from tobacco
Smoking is bad for your lungs. It’s also bad for your liver and heart. It encourages your body to grow cancer cells, and completely scrambles your DNA. If you haven’t started yet, don’t. If you have, quit. Is it your go-to stress reliever? Find something nicotine-free.
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13. Eating more of the ‘right’ foods
Foods and drinks that are included in the Mediterranean diet — everything from fruits and vegetables to whole grains and red wine — can help you live longer. It can even reduce your risk for devastating diseases like dementia.
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14. Eating less of the ‘wrong’ foods
Unfortunately, you can’t just eat more kale and expect it to add years to your life all on its own. You also need to eat fewer foods that slowly destroy your body from the inside out. Snacks and desserts high in sugar, for example, are dangerous for your heart. You don’t have to stop eating them. Just eat less.
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15. Living carefully
Think living life totally carefree is your best option? Not in the long-term. Careful, vigilant people have a greater chance of living well into old age than those who don’t possess these traits. A slightly more cautious approach to everyday life — within reason — might work out in your favor.
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