Sure, it's good to live each day like it's your last. But wouldn't it be great to just have more days?
While we're being bombarded daily with bad news about unavoidable everyday things that are decreasing our life expectancy (sleep deprivation anyone?), the good news is there are plenty of little steps you can take to add some of that lost time back.
We've rounded up the best for you:
1) Go wild for blueberries
Often called a "superfood," blueberries are loaded with heart-protecting antioxidants and have been known to help reduce inflammation. Recent studies have shown consuming around two cups per day can help prevent chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension and obesity. In older adults in particular, drinking blueberry juice has been proven to improve memory and reduce depression.
2) More face time, less Facetime
Of course our relationships add more meaning to our lives than anything else, but they can also add years. People with strong social ties are generally less vulnerable to mental health issues like depression and tend to live longer. Some studies have even shown that social interaction and having healthy relationships are as good for you as quitting smoking.
3) Pour yourself a drink
Having a glass of wine to unwind after work won't just de-stress you. Researchers say it could actually add 5 years to your life. People who drink any light or moderate quantity of beer or other alcohol increase their life expectancy by 2.5 years and those who drink red wine gain 2.5 more years a Dutch study found in 2009. We can say cheers to that.
4) Get frisky
Various studies have shown that people who have sex and achieve orgasms more frequently live up to two years longer. This could be attributed to the many health benefits of sex. First off, sex does count as a workout, burning 5 calories per minute. It also floods your body with many hormones which can help lower stress, provide more restful sleep, and yes, even reduce pain. Doctors say it can even help arthritis symptoms and relieve headaches.
5) Munch on nuts
Eating nuts 5 days a week can add nearly 3 years to your life, according to researchers at Loma Linda University. Nuts were shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.. Nuts are high in vitamin E and reduce oxidative stress in your arteries. They can be high in calories and fat though, so stick to almonds, cashews, and pistachios, which are some of the healthier nuts.
6) Take more vacations
Yes, this is a tough one. What with trying to save for retirement, keeping ahead at work, and the rising costs of travel, not all of us can spend a week on the beaches of Hawaii. But people who take more vacations tend to live longer, studies show. In fact, men who take at least one vacation per year can cut their risk of death by 20 percent and their risk of heart disease by nearly 30 percent. So even if it's just a weekend mini-break to a nearby resort or a camping trip with the grandkids, make sure you're taking the time to unplug.
7) Step away from your desk
It's bad enough as it is that many of us spend 8 or more hours a day sitting at our desk, ruining our posture and straining our eyes. Now researchers say that sitting for more than 3 hours a day can cut your life expectancy, even if you're taking trips to the gym. Getting up and moving every hour, even if just for a minute, can add up to two years to your life. Also, consider getting a pedometer to make sure you're clocking your 10,000 recommended steps each day.