Exercising daily can cut your risk to many diseases and extend your life. A recent study of 18,000 men found that those who maintained the highest levels of aerobic fitness lived 8.7 years longer than the least fit guys. “We’ve all been told about the importance of aerobics in our daily lives, but this gives us the data to prove it,” says Ken Cooper, M.D., founder and director of the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, which conducted the study. To attain that top fitness category, Dr. Cooper recommends, run 2 miles in 20 minutes or less, four times a week.
Take Your Vitamin D
Pop vitamin D daily and you may be adding years to your life. A 2007 study of over 57,000 adults -- mostly middle-aged and elderly people in good health -- in Europe, the U.S. and the U.K. showed that those taking vitamin D (as opposed to a placebo) were 7 percent less likely to die during the span of the study. The authors don't know exactly why vitamin D seemed to increase life span, but the vitamin is known to offer many benefits, including strengthening the immune system and building bones. It also lowers the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and heart and kidney disease. You can get vitamin D from the sun, but most people don't spend enough time outdoors -- or in sunny enough climates -- to take in an adequate amount. FDA guidelines issued in November 2010 boosted the recommended daily dose to 400 International Units per day for people over nine (people 71 years and older should take 800 mg daily), combined with a diet rich in the vitamin. Foods with loads of vitamin D include mackerel, fortified yogurt and orange juice, whole eggs and Swiss cheese.
Take Your Vitamin C Daily
According to a UCLA school of public health research, men with high vitamin C intakes (> than 300 milligrams daily) live 5.5 years longer than men with low vitamin C intakes (less than 50 milligrams).
Flossing regularly can add 6.4 years to your life according to several recent studies. How? When you floss, you rid your mouth of bacteria that can cause inflammation in the gums. This inflammation can travel to the heart, leading to heart disease. An Emory University study that revealed that those with gingivitis and periodontitis have a mortality rate that's 23 to 46% higher than those without the gum diseases.
Lose the Spare Tire
Reducing your weight by 5-10 percent can decrease your chance of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Also according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a 35-year-old who’s up to 30 percent heavier than his healthy weight can live 8 months longer simply by slimming down to normal proportions. If you’re more than 30 percent heavier than you should be, dropping the excess weight can extend your life additional 20 months. You can also improve your heart function, blood pressure and your levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and your quality of life.
Drinking both green and black teas can help you live longer, according to a wealth of worldwide research on tea and health. A 2009 study of 2,000 Chinese women suggested that drinking green tea regularly (and eating a diet rich in mushrooms) may cut cancer risk by 90%. A 2006 study of 40,530 Japanese men and women showed that those who drank five or more cups of green tea daily had the lowest chances of dying from stroke or cardiovascular disease (CVD). Compared with participants who drank less than 1 cup of green tea per day, those who consumed 5 or more cups had a risk for all-cause and CVD mortality that was 16% lower (during 11 years of follow-up) and 26% lower (during 7 years of follow-up), respectively. The caffeinated drink has high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidant flavonoids. Meanwhile, black tea, which also has antioxidant flavonoids, offers its own health benefits. Over 15 years, researchers recorded the tea-drinking habits of 60,000 Swedish women, ages 40 to 76. Some drank at least two cups of tea per day, while others drank less than a one cup per month. The regular tea-drinkers had a 46 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer. Experts recommend drinking at least two cups a day of brewed tea (bottled teas seem to lose their health benefits according to several studies).
Hang Out with Friends
Researchers have discovered that people with greater social relationships are 50% more likely to live longer than their socially reclusive counterparts. Socializing time with friends can cut your risk of an early death in half, according to a recent Brigham Young University study. A lack of friends is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic and also twice as damaging as obesity and more harmful than not exercising, according to the study. The 2010 study, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, pulled information from over 300,000 participants in 148 studies, found that strong social relationships have an extremely positive effect on health. The authors found that having close social relationships may be more beneficial to longevity than pneumonia vaccines and hypertension drugs. "Throughout human history, we have relied on others for survival such as protection and food, and despite modern advancements that may [help with] certain aspects of survival so that we can live more independently, it appears that our relationships nonetheless still impact odds of survival," said author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, associate professor of psychology at BYU.
Get Enough Sleep
Researchers say that sleeping less than four hours also increases death rates. People who sleep between six and seven hours per night were shown to live the longest.
According to an Archives of General Psychiatry study, sleeping too much can reduce life expectancy. Researchers found that those who sleep more than eight hours per night had a significantly higher death rate than normal.
Eat Three Candy Bars per Month.
Harvard researchers who studied 7,841 male alumni found that those who ate candy bars regularly lived 1 year longer than guys who never touched the stuff. One theory in support of dark chocolate as health food: Dark chocolate contains phenols, antioxidants that help prevent fats in the blood from clogging arteries. But do not let the study results give you a license to go on a chocolate binge. Studies show that men who ate three or more sweets a week, have a 30% higher risk of early death than men with more moderate habits of one to three candy bars per month.
Having sex can extend your lifespan according to several studies. There seems to be a “dose-response” relationship between orgasms and heart problems – the more sex you have, the less heart disease you’ll suffer. Having sex can extend your lifespan by seven years according to Scottish study. Regular sex relieves stress, improves sleep and increases intimacy with your partner. Regular sex also boosts immunity and makes you look better. British researchers found that men who had sex once a week were less likely to die in the next 10 years than men who had sex less than once a month. A Duke University study showed that compared to women who were indifferent with their sex lives, women who were happy with their sex lives lived seven to eight years longer.