These days, it seems just about anything and everything will kill you before you’re due. (Even one of your everyday habits could increase your risk for cancer.) But there’s good news: Before you throw in the towel, consider the fact you may actually be healthier than you think. Maybe, just maybe, you’re one of those lucky folks on the road to the 100+ club. Don’t give up hope just yet. Here are 10 surprising signs you could live a super long life.
1. You volunteer
The benefits of volunteering are plenty. You’re helping others. You’re donating your time. You’re working with a population with whom you may not normally surround yourself — All good things. You may be surprised to learn, though, that volunteerism can help tack years onto your life. According to a Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, people who volunteer live longer than those who don’t.
Those who are motivated by personal reasons, such as making themselves look good, need not subscribe to this theory. Volunteers who are motivated by selfless reasons, on the other hand, can take comfort in knowing their good deeds just may pay off in the long run.
2. You’re a social butterfly
Extroverts will be happy about this one. Introverts? Not so much. As luck would have it, social butterflies stand to live longer than those who prefer Netflix to a night on the town. Research shows socialites are 50% more likely to outlive those who are lacking in strong social relationships. So, don’t be too quick to tell yourself staying in (at least all the time) is a good thing.
3. Your friends describe you as conscientious (if you’re a man)
You are the company you keep, which is great news for anyone who’s social network largely consists of conscientious folks. This claim comes from a study conducted decades ago. In the 1930s, researchers began observing 600 people who were in their mid-20s at the time. The study continued through 2013, and made some pretty interesting findings. In fact, male participants who were seen by their friends as open and conscientious lived longer. So, what about females, then?
4. Your friends describe you as emotionally stable and agreeable (if you’re a woman)
In the same study, emotional stability and agreeableness proved more beneficial for women. Ladies whose friends described them with such qualities lived longer than those who didn’t. The interesting tidbit here, though, is it all came down to how an individual’s friends saw them.
Not surprisingly, a person may have a skewed opinion of themselves. For this reason, the study reported, “Friends’ ratings were better predictors of longevity than were self-reports of personality, in part because friends’ ratings could be aggregated to provide a more reliable assessment.” So, if your pals have good things to say about certain traits of yours, consider it a good sign.
5. You can sit on the floor (and stand back up) without using your hands
Of all the tests a doctor can perform to evaluate your overall health, there’s one you can do on your own that can tell you a lot: the sitting-rising test (SRT). The test challenges you to sit down on the floor, then stand back up without the use of your arms. In a study of 2,002 adults, people between the ages of 51 and 80 were tasked with the SRT. To measure results, researchers established a scale in which one point was subtracted for each hand, knee, or arm support used. The more support a person used, the lower their score.
6. You’re married
Apologies in advance to anyone who’s living the single life out there. If you have a partner, though, here’s some good news: You may outlive your single counterparts. According to a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, people who are married during the middle portion of their lives are less likely to die midlife. Of course, that’s no reason to get hitched to the next person you meet. But it does make a case for those in committed relationships.
7. You’re religious
Some might say those who are close to death suddenly find God. And they might be right. Regardless of how religious a person’s been over the course of their life, such spirituality later on can make a difference. In fact, some research has found elderly people “who attended religious services had lower mortality than those who did not.”
If you often pray to a higher power upstairs, he or she could be helping you stick around here for many, many years to come.
8. You’re well-educated
It’s no secret socioeconomic status and mortality have long shared a link to. To say people who are more educated are likely to live a longer life, though, requires some hard evidence to back it up, and Dana Goldman and James P. Smith have done the research that does just that.
According to these findings, advanced education can bode well in the longevity department for numerous reasons. For example, those who attain high levels of education are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as avoiding tobacco and exercising regularly, and are likely more knowledgeable about disease management. So, even if college loans are still haunting you, you can be thankful you made the investment.
9. You eat plenty of sushi
Here’s one we’re confident most people will be thrilled about. In an article published by Daily Mail, Cassandra Barns, a London-based nutritionist, reveals foods in a Japanese diet that could help you live a longer life. The publication notes, “Fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, responsible for keeping the heart healthy. But not only do they keep the blood flowing, they also benefit the brain, eyes, and reduce inflammation.”
And if that’s not enough to convince you, just look to a woman who lived to be 117. Misao Okawo attributed her long life, in part, to eating sushi. As reported by the Mirror, Japan has more than 50,000 people in the 100+ club, which is widely attributed to the country’s diet of sushi and fish. So, have at it, just take it easy on the sake.
10. Your father was on the older side when you were born
Having an older father growing up may have been a point of frustration. Now that you’re an adult, though, you’ll want to thank your lucky stars your dad was a getting up there when he brought you into this world. Surprisingly, research shows people born to older men tend to live longer lives than those born to the younger variety. This, of course, is great news for anyone who’s been trying to justify holding off on starting a family. Is it just coincidence? Probably, but maybe you’re setting your future child up for a super long life.