19 things you can do in under 10 minutes to live longer
Some of the best longevity tips are the easiest. Here are the life extenders you should add to your daily routine.
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1. Drink a cup of coffee
If you already enjoy a cup of coffee (or two), you’re on the right track.
While coffee gets a bad rap, there’s plenty of research to support its benefits. In fact, one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that consuming coffee daily can extend life.
“Caffeine consumption is also associated with a reduced risk of diabetes,” adds Tik Pau, MD, Gwinnett Medical Centre-affiliated physician, primary care provider with GMG’s Bostock Family Medicine.
And while you’re at it, this is the secret to the perfect cup of coffee.
2. Get your heart rate up
While you know how important exercise is to your health, you might have trouble getting in the recommended 30 minutes at least four times a week.
In that case, sneaking in just ten minutes of a heart-pumping workout a few times a day can also be effective.
“Getting your heart pumping, blood flowing and muscles firing for even short periods of exercise is better than no exercise at all,” says Daniel Cavallo, DO, family and sports medicine physician and medical director, CityMD.
Here’s how to overcome exercise excuses and stay motivated.
If you’ve yet to adopt a meditation practice, it’s time to start – even if it’s just for five to ten minutes of your day.
“Meditation is important for relieving stress and is known to increase the length of telomeres, cell markers for longevity,” explains Kien Vuu, MD, US-based interventional oncologist radiologist.
“Meditation is also known to activate genes to lower inflammation and increase immunity.”
Want to know how to teach yourself to meditate and beat stress? Here’s how those 12 boys stuck in a cave in northern Thailand managed it.
4. Drink a glass of water
Hydration is one of the most important components of healthy living.
“Increased hydration improves blood circulation, thereby promoting the flow of nutrients and removal of waste products,” explains Dr Cavallo.
“This allows the heart, liver and kidneys to function with less stress.”
If you’re an avid exerciser, it’s even more important to stay hydrated, since good old H2O can improve muscle performance and aid in muscle recovery.
We guzzle down about 600 million litres of bottled water a year. Here are the arguments for and against drinking bottled water.
5. Get outside more
As it turns out, a little fresh air will do you good – and might help you score a few more years on this earth.
“Spending time like hiking in the woods, walking outdoors or just being outside can lead to significant health benefits,” says Dr Pau.
“Studies have shown that moderate outdoor activity can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, improve memory, increase vitamin D absorption and bone strength, and decrease cancer risk.”
Don’t miss more ways to live longer, just by following a few simple rules.
6. Pick up some weights
Strength training is another life extender that only takes a matter of minutes.
“One study published in the JAMA found that older adults who strength trained at least twice a week lowered their mortality risk due to any cause by a whopping 46 percent,” says Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com.
“The researchers believe that this study provides strong evidence that older adults who practice strength training are benefiting far beyond gaining stronger muscles and better physical function.”
Check out these 50 simple ways to boost your metabolism.
7. Wash your hands
This might be the simplest of things you can do to live longer, mainly because it helps protect you from illness.
“The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, as one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others,” says Dr Pau.
“Washing your hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoeal diseases by up to 47 percent; interventions to promote handwashing might save a million lives.”
Check out these 20 secrets to steal from people who never get sick.
Not only does dancing help keep you in shape physically, but research has found that there may be a link between dancing and mental health as well.
“Researchers have found that dance is one of the best exercises for improving the structure of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays a key role in memory and learning, as we age,” says Lynn Anderson, PhD, ND, a naturopathic doctor and yoga therapist.
“Dancing increases the volume of the hippocampus and this improves both cognitive and physical health.”
‘Dance’ is also one of those great words to live by that improve your enjoyment of life. Here are 42 others.
9. Eat smart and healthy most of the time
Your food choices are some of the most important decisions you make on a day-to-day basis.
One of the simplest and quickest ways to promote healthy living is by eating healthy and “smart” foods at regular intervals.
“Contrary to many fad diets that lead to weight loss fluctuation, we often see a more consistent and maintained weight loss and increased exercise capacity when adhering to a healthy diet,” says Dr Cavallo.
But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid all indulgences: Dr Cavallo recommends allowing yourself to have cheat days.
“Without allowing for small indulgences, some will get frustrated and give up after straying from their diets.”
You might also want to look into what time of the day you eat.
10. Have sex
Not a terrible way to pass the time and tack on years to your life, right?
“Sex releases endorphins and other hormones in the body, increases feelings of intimacy and bonding and combats feelings of loneliness and depression,” says Dr Vuu.
“Staying sexually active also has physical, stress relieving, social and mental benefits – and it’s been shown to increase immunity, decrease risks of prostate cancer and heart attacks in men, and reduce stress and blood pressure, adding to longevity.”
11. Drink a cup of tea
Tea has long been hailed as a health remedy, thanks to its rich level of antioxidants.
“Tea has anti-cancerous and cholesterol-lowering properties and has been shown to protect the brain from free-radical damage and strengthen bones against osteoporosis,” says Dr Vuu.
“Also, as demonstrated in studies published in JAMA, tea also lowers risks of death from all forms of cardiovascular diseases.”
It’s also one of the world’s most popular comfort foods.
12. Eat spicy foods
Adding a little spice to your breakfast, lunch and dinner will not only boost its flavour but may possibly extend your lifespan as well. Research, including one study published in BMJ that looked at 485,000 people, indicates that eating spicy foods can reduce the risk of premature death.
“While researchers aren’t completely positive why these spicy peppers can contribute to life extension, the most likely reason is their active component known as capsaicin,” adds Dr Axe.
Whether it’s reading a news article or doing a Sudoku puzzle, utilising your brain in different ways throughout the day counts as learning – something that certainly shouldn’t stop just because you’re not in school anymore.
“Not only is learning great for the brain, but it turns out it may help you live longer,” says Dr Axe.
“A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine found that reading books regularly may increase longevity, and the advantages of reading books were significantly greater compared to magazine or newspaper consumption.”