When you contemplate how to live longer, it’s only natural to consider how you can tweak your current habits for better wellness long-term. While people worldwide are living longer today, there’s not one answer to longevity — we all lead unique lifestyles with different genetic and economic factors at play. But these five simple lifestyle improvements can help your overall health and possibly lead to a longer, happier life.
While we often gravitate toward boxed macaroni and cheese or jarred pasta sauces when we need a quick dinner (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), it’s all about balance.
Try to incorporate natural foods — which don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives — into your diet as much as possible.
Reach for foods like fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes on a regular basis, and don’t sweat it when you occasionally opt for a quick, packaged snack. You can also choose to eat nutrient-dense carbs — like whole grain pasta or quinoa — regularly to up your vitamin, mineral, and fiber intake.
If you habitually smoke cigarettes, vapes, or marijuana, quitting is one of the most effective ways to improve your health. Research by the National Institute on Aging suggests that you may add years to your life when you stop smoking.
Quitting smoking or reducing your intake also can decrease the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Quitting cigarettes specifically has been proven to lower blood pressure and improve circulation within two to 12 weeks of stopping.
A 2018 study by Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that team and partner sports such as tennis, badminton, and soccer have the best impact on longevity. While these team sports are less intensive than solo sports like running or skiing, the social aspect boosted longevity.
If you’re interested in honing your soccer skills, grab a friend and download Joner Football’s fitness app to learn ball mastery, dribbling and shooting drills, and more!
If team sports aren’t your speed, regular moderate exercise has many health benefits as well. For example, brisk walking for 150 minutes per week can increase your life expectancy and boost your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. Other vigorous physical activity like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help lower blood pressure and the risk of chronic disease.
For a great HIIT workout, download Amanda Teel’s fitness app to access her workouts, including endurance, AMRAP, and interval training exercises. Certified CrossFit coach Margaux Alvarez also offers HIIT workouts in her fitness app that are guaranteed to get your heart rate up.
Research shows that social connections are one of the most important aspects of living a long, healthy life alongside physical exercise.
Loneliness is not just a fleeting emotion — it has a physical effect on our bodies by increasing cortisol. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” that places us in fight or flight mode and lowers our immune system. Instead, we want our bodies to produce oxytocin, or the “love hormone,” which can be accomplished by bonding with others.
Staying connected can mean many different things, from volunteering at a local homeless shelter to joining a book club to working out with a partner.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While it might sound cliché, having a solid life purpose has been found to extend your life expectancy.
Knowing your purpose in life gives you a reason to wake up in the morning, engage in healthy behaviors — like not smoking and eating healthy — and nurture meaningful relationships. Whether through your career, hobbies, or exercise routine, finding your reason to live is a vital part of how to live longer.
About the author
Cierra Loflin is a health and wellness freelance writer and the founder of B-Well Content. She's worked with brands like Get Me Giddy, Altitude Sports, Partner Portal, and now Playbook! When she's not writing, you can find her practicing pole fitness, making a recipe she found on Instagram, or exploring a small beach town in Mexico.