Society is embroiled in an eternal quest for youth and immortality. But, the Fountain of Youth turned out to be just a legend and all those anti-aging creams are just fancy lotions. However, science has joined the search for ways to live longer and some surprising results are popping up. Here are eleven surprising ways you can add extra years to your life, and maybe even make your years a little more fun and rewarding.
If the Fountain of Youth does appear, it might be full of holy water. No matter what the faith, people who attend church, pray, meditate, or simply define themselves as religious tend to live longer. It’s unlikely that a higher power is granting extra years. It’s more likely that people of faith deal with stress and anxiety better, live less risky lives and have more supportive social circles.
Do Something Nice
We all learned the Golden Rule as little kids, but, aside from just being a good thing to do, serving others can actually help you live longer. Research shows that people who volunteer, help in their communities, donate money to charity or help take care of friends and relatives are rewarded with extra time on earth.
Get Less Sleep
It looks like all those all-night study sessions and late nights at the office might pay off in a big way. Eight hours of sleep a night has long been touted as the ideal amount, but scientist now believe that lowering it to six can decrease mortality risks. On a related note, sleep aids actually increase risk of death, so you may be better off tossing and turning than popping the pill.
Have More Sex
Easily the most fun suggestion on this list, being intimate more often may also mean living longer. A recent study from the University of Belfast shows that orgasms lower risk of mortality. Plus, sex increases your heart rate and serves as a cardiovascular exercise that’s a lot more enjoyable than an hour on the treadmill. Add in the fact that sex is good for lowering stress and amping up your immune system and you’ve got lots of reasons to get busy.
All that action leads us right to the next item on our list…. having babies. Studies show that people with children have a lower risk of death. Why? Because parents tend to stop smoking, drink less, drive more cautiously and generally live more carefully. So having babies can help you live longer by avoiding deadly accidents and disease. Of course, you’ll have to spend some of those years changing poopy diapers.
Everyone knows that you need to eat well to stay healthy. But, new research is showing that extremely low calorie diets can lead to longer lifespans. The obvious reasons are the lower risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. However, scientists believe that there may be other factors at play as well, though they remain a mystery. But, how long would you want to live without your favorite Girl Scout cookies?
Live On A Mountain
Aside from getting to enjoy beautiful scenery every day, people that live in the mountains tend to live longer. In fact, the U.S towns with the longest lifespans are in the mountains of Colorado and many people in the Scandinavian mountains live well over 100. The exercise from walking uphill often, plus the fresh air and lack of pollution likely contributes to the impact mountains have on lifespan.
Learn A Second Language
Picking up Spanish, Italian or Arabic can slow the aging process significantly. Learning a language keeps the mind active and alert and helps to prevent or slow dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And, it doesn’t matter when you learn the language; the pay off is the same. So, make sure to say “Gracias” to your high school Spanish teacher.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but it may be able to buy you extra years. Money can buy state-of-the-art heath care, healthy foods and gym memberships, all of which can translate into longevity. But, wealthy people also have higher levels of key body chemicals that control stress. These chemicals, which serve as an indicator of life expectancy, are produced in the highest levels in the teen years. So, you may need to inherit your millions rather than work for them.
It’s true; laughter is the best medicine. People who laugh often may have less stress, better immune systems, burn more calories and have lower blood pressure, all of which contributes to a long lifespan. If you find yourself constantly have to fake a chuckle at your boss’s lame jokes, there’s good news. Even insincere laughter can be helpful.
Keep On Working
Retirement seems like the reward at the end of a long years of filling out time sheets and TPS reports. But, don’t trade in your cubicle for an RV and garden just yet. Retiring often comes with increased stress about finances, a smaller social circle and limited physical activity. But, people who work longer live longer, so keep on sending in those expense reports and pretending to pay attention during staff meetings.