We all want to live a long and healthy life, but the best way to go about this seems to be somewhat up for debate. Studies have shown that some populations tend to live longer than others, but is it their diet, their genes, or some other combination of factors that contributes to their longer-than-average lifespan? While we may not yet have all of the answers, science suggests there are a few practices that tend to make a significant difference in the length and quality of our lives.
Research shows that maintaining an active lifestyle is even more important than diet when it comes to longevity and healthy aging. Regular exercise benefits both the physical body and emotional state by triggering the production of endorphins, which help to reduce stress and anxiety. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym every day—even simple swaps, such as taking the stairs over the elevator, can make a difference.
Foster Meaningful Connections
Humans are biologically wired for connection, so it’s likely no coincidence that the populations that tend to live the longest lives also place a high value on family and relationships. Prioritizing time with your loved ones can reduce feelings of isolation, provide mental and emotional stimulation, and even give you a sense of purpose.
Connect With Something Bigger
Cultivating a feeling of connection to something bigger than oneself can improve mental health and make it easier to cope with the challenges that life brings. You may feel called to a particular faith, but if not, know that you don’t have to be religious to develop a spiritual practice. Beyond improving mental health, meditation, prayer, and mindfulness have all been shown to benefit the cardiovascular and immune systems.