No one really wants to think about aging, but let’s face it: the habits you practice now can play a role in how long you’ll live, and how much life you’ll have in your years.
The world’s oldest man, Polish immigrant Alexander Imich, passed away on Sunday in New York City at the age of 111. That’s way longer than the average American male life expectancy of 76, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Find a hobby
Doing something you find truly fulfilling will give you a sense of accomplishment, and can help reduce stress.
Plan a vacay
Taking a break from work can lower your risk of heart disease and add 1 to 2 years to your life.
People with stronger friendships were 50% more likely to live longer than those with weaker connections, a 2010 analysis found. That makes the impact of friendlessness comparable to that of smoking (more on that below).
You need to fuel your body with healthy foods to live a long life. Limit your intake of foods high in fat, salt, and added sugar (which can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, and other chronic diseases) and look for superfoods rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.
Hit the gym
Not only is exercise good for the heart, but working out can trigger the release of endorphins, pain-relieving chemicals known to boost your mood. Shoot for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, per the CDC.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. That’s even more reason to take up calming activities, like meditation and yoga.
Stop smoking and limit drinking
Imich, a former smoker, swore off both cigarettes and alcohol and you should follow his lead—at lease when it comes to the cigs. Smoking causes one out of 5 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. Moderate alcohol consumption is good for you, but experts recommend that women have no more than one drink per day (or up to 7 per week); for men it’s 1 to 2 drinks per day, or a max of 14 per week.