When 90-year-old William Shatner blasted off into space aboard Blue Origin, he became the oldest astronaut in history.
Ever thought about what you might be doing when you’re 90 years old?
In the cult-classic TV show Star Trek, Shatner piloted the U.S.S. Enterprise starship through space as Captain James Kirk. Maybe for just a few minutes during his recent flight, he thought about Dr. Spock’s famous words, “Live long and prosper.”
DID YOU KNOW…the average life expectancy in the United States is currently 77.8?1
That’s about 1.5 years lower than it’s been in nearly 20 years. And it’s the biggest decline in life expectancy in the U.S. since World War II.
Why? COVID-19 gets most of the credit for that, but chronic and preventable diseases play a part, too. For example:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of an estimated 659,041 people a year. But it’s largely preventable.
- Obesity. An estimated 74 percent of all adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. It’s a major risk factor for chronic diseases and early death.
- Lack of exercise. Only 53 percent of adults are active more than 30 minutes a day. Only 23 percent do activities to strengthen bones and muscles.
- Diabetes. An estimated 34 million people have type 2 diabetes. Left unchecked, it can cause nerve damage, poor circulation, vision loss, kidney disease, heart disease, and death.
Want to live longer, prevent disease, and enjoy a better quality of life as you age?
There’s no secret longevity code, Star-Trek-inspired phaser device or Fountain of Youth to help you live forever. But you can make healthy lifestyle habits to protect your health and live longer.
9 Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Aging
Research shows these nine healthy habits are the biggest factors for good health and longevity, and can help you live up to 10 years longer.2
If you’re already doing these things, keep up the good work. If you need to make some changes, now is always the best time to start…
1. Eat a healthy diet. Most of your food and snacks should come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Eat fresh food, and drink plenty of water.
2. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. It’s as simple as going for a walk. Exercises to strengthen your bones and muscles will help, too.
3. Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to. Worried about the number on the scale? Keep it simple. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week by making small changes to your diet and exercise habits.
4. Avoid or limit alcohol. No more than 2 drinks per day for men. No more than 1 drink per day for women, zero if pregnant. Or don’t drink at all.
5. Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. Health benefits of quitting begin as soon as you stop. More Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Longevity While these five habits appear to have the biggest impact on health and longevity, there’s more you can do to age well.
6. Manage stress in healthy ways. Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. Keep a journal. Talk to a counselor or therapist. Make time for a hobby. Stress less.3
7. Get your Zzz’s. The optimal amount… 7-9 hours per night. Too little sleep, and even too much sleep, raises the risk for early death.4
8. Be positive. You might roll your eyes at the eternal optimist. But research shows people who see the “glass half full” manage stress better, have a lower risk for chronic disease, and live longer.5
9. Develop healthy relationships. Spend time with family and friends. Make a phone call, text, or plan a video chat. Write a letter. Be part of a social group. Research shows that people with healthy relationships and a strong social network are healthier, feel happier and live longer.6
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