Outgoing people are 50 percent less likely to develop dementia. Researchers speculate that their more resilient brains may be due to lower levels of cortisol -- studies show that oversecretion of this "stress hormone" can inhibit brain cells' communication.
You run for 40 minutes a day
Middle-aged people who run for a total of about 5 hours per week lived longer and functioned better physically and cognitively as they got older. They didn't just get less heart disease -- they also developed fewer cases of cancer, neurological diseases, and infections.
You like raspberries
Dietary fiber helps reduce total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost weight loss. Raspberries are high in fiber.
You feel 13 years younger than you are
Feeling youthful is linked to better health and a longer life. It can improve optimism and motivation to overcome challenges, which helps reduce stress and boost your immune system and ultimately lowers your risk of disease.
You embrace techie trends
Learn to Twitter, Facebook, or Skype to help keep brain cells young and healthy. Stay connected to friends, family, and current events, and you feel vital and relevant.
You started menopause after age 52
Studies show that naturally experiencing it later can mean an increased life span. Women who go through menopause late have a much lower risk of heart disease.
You make every calorie count
Men and women who limit their daily calories to 1,400 to 2,000 were literally young at heart -- their hearts functioned like those of people 15 years younger
You had a baby later in life
If you got pregnant naturally after age 44, you're about 15 percent less likely to die during any year after age 50. If your ovaries are healthy and you are capable of having children at that age, that's a marker that you have genes operating that will help you live longer.
Your pulse beats 15 times in 15 seconds
That equates to 60 beats per minute -- or how many times a healthy heart beats at rest. Most people have resting rates between 60 and 100 bpm, and the closer to the lower end of the spectrum, the healthier. A slower pulse means your heart doesn't have to work as hard and could last longer.
You don't snore
Snoring is a major sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly because throat tissue collapses and blocks your airway. In severe cases, this can happen 60 to 70 times per hour. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.
You have a (relatively) flat belly after menopause
Women who are too round in the middle are 20 percent more likely to die sooner, even if their body mass index is normal. At midlife, it takes more effort to keep waists trim because shifting hormones cause most extra weight to settle in the middle.
If you are like most people, you too want to live well into old age. One of the most inspiring examples I can think of is Jack LaLanne, who at 93 is still the poster child for healthy living. His life is a major testimony to how exercise and optimal nutrition can help preserve your mind and body. And most of the items on the list above are simply the “side effects” of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most essential strategies for maximizing your potential to live to see your 100th birthday.
Managing Your Stress Can Make or Break You
Despite the fact that stress management is perhaps one of the most important factors for a long healthy life, it’s an aspect that most people struggle with, or ignore completely.
Common sense and science are in total agreement in this area: developing effective strategies to bounce back from stress has the power to shape your health and impact your longevity.
This makes all the sense in the world when you consider that long-term exposure to stress hormones eventually takes its toll on your biological processes and internal organs. This in turn activates your immune system, including the release of chemicals that trigger inflammation.
So, if you’re under chronic stress, your immune system is on constant high alert, which can lead to chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis, just to name a few.
Since your body’s inflammatory response can create so much systemic damage, addressing your stress is key if you want to be optimally healthy.
There are many ways to address your stress and emotions. Prayer, meditation, yoga, or even just taking a walk can help.
One particularly helpful strategy is the Meridian Tapping Technique, because whereas conventional stress-management protocols like relaxation exercises and deep breathing can help you cope with stress, they do not address the cause of your stress. The Meridian Tapping Technique does, and can therefore have a deeper, positive impact on your emotional, mental and physical health.
Cultivating an Optimistic Outlook on Life Can Add Years to It
Just as stress management can improve your overall health, extroverts and those with optimistic outlooks on life tend to naturally fare better than recluses and pessimists.
Extroverts tend to focus on the world around them, desire to be around others, and tend to think more happy thoughts. They also tend to have a lower inflammatory response. By being more actively engaged in life and maintaining strong ties with friends and family, you may also be apt to feel younger. Having a reliable support network can also significantly help you to bounce back from stressful episodes.
While it’s impossible to speculate which comes first, a sunny disposition or good health, I do think it does offer fuel to the idea that by changing your mind you can change your health. I strongly believe that cultivating a more positive outlook and embracing life with greater zest can indeed have potent, positive consequences for your physical health.
Breath = Life!
Another often overlooked aspect that is essential for optimal health and a key to longevity is the act of breathing.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, proper breathing technique tops his personal list of strategies for improving health. And he’s not alone. One 30-year long study concluded that the most significant factor in your health and longevity is how well you breathe!
It focused on the long-term predictive power of forced exhalation volume as the primary marker for life span. According to the researchers,
"This pulmonary function measurement appears to be an indicator of general health and vigor and literally a measure of living capacity."
It’s also important to realize that much of hypertension is controlled by the way you breathe, so breathing exercises are an excellent adjunct to your other healthy lifestyle strategies to control high blood pressure.
A couple of months ago I reviewed and demonstrated the 4-7-8 breathing exercise as I learned it from Dr. Weil at the Expo West conference in California. It’s a powerful stress relieving strategy that works as a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system. Best of all, you can do it anywhere, at any time.
Personally, I think one of its greatest values may be gained when you combine it with your meals. Most of us eat three meals a day, so it makes remembering to do it easier. Also, I believe that combining it with the attitude of gratitude for the healthy meal you just ate, or are about to eat, can have a powerful, beneficial influence on your health.
With consistent application, breathing techniques such as the 4-7-8 breathing technique can trigger a broad array of health benefits by modifying and accelerating your body's inherent self-regulating physiological and bioenergetic mechanisms.
These changes are in large part due to the fact that you’re oxygenating your body properly as well as correcting your internal and energetic balance, and it has a direct impact your nervous system. This in turn affects your entire body and its countless cellular functions, including all of your subtle energy systems.
Exercise for Life
I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: You cannot achieve optimal health and longevity without physical exercise.
Exercise, like other stress management techniques, lowers your body’s inflammatory response. In fact, exercise IS one of the best stress reduction strategies available! It even works as well, or better than most antidepressant medications.
When you exercise, your body naturally increases the levels of endorphins, or “feel good” hormones, in your brain.
This is also why exercise can help you cultivate a sunnier disposition, and may help you become less introverted and more engaged with life and the people around you.
You are What You Eat
Last, but certainly not least, there’s no hope of a long, healthy life without addressing your dietary habits.
One of the most important articles on my site contains what I’ve learned about optimal nutrition for health and longevity. Many of you may have missed this comprehensive set of healthy nutritional guidelines.
I strongly encourage you to review them very carefully when you have a moment.
These guidelines are broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced, depending on the level you’re starting from. The entire program is completely free, and my gift to you in the hopes that you will live healthier, longer.
In addition, my website contains some 300,000 pages of free information, which are sure to answer most any health related question you may have.
Please remember that the search engine box at the top of every page on this site is a very powerful tool that will allow you to quickly find all the articles I have written over the last 12 years, as they are all still available and cover a vast spectrum of natural health solutions that can add years to your life, and health to your years.