Recent research details factors that can lengthen your life, and those that can shorten it – everything from eating less, exercising more and being optimistic (longer life) to obesity, alcoholism and sleeping too much (shorter life).
They even point out that there’s evidence that little-known factors like having more pets can lengthen your life, while living in the city can shorten it.
Then they note that they’ve come up with the “ultimate recipe” for a longer life, and it’s this: Being a “married, happy-go-lucky, outdoors-loving, sex-mad, hippie party girl in senior management with a cat.”
OK, that may sound extreme, but in some ways they’re onto something. Many of those factors do indeed lengthen your life, according to studies that were examined. Here’s a look.
Married: Numerous studies show that married people tend to live longer than unmarried people. One recent study even found that people who never married, compared with those who had been in a stable marriage as adults, were more than twice as likely to die early. Just be sure to note that other studies have found that it’s a happy marriage that really promotes longevity.
Happy-go-lucky: Optimists live longer than pessimists, research shows. Indeed, a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, which examined the lives of more than 100,000 women ages 50 and up, revealed that those who expect good things to happen were 14% less likely to die from a cause than pessimists were.
Outdoors-loving: A meta-analysis published in 2018 found that spending time outdoors reduces your risk of a number of ailments, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, premature death, stress and high blood pressure. Forest bathing is already really popular as a therapy in Japan — with participants spending time in the forest either sitting or lying down, or just walking around. This study shows that perhaps they have the right idea.
Sex-mad: One study that tracked men over roughly a decade found that those who had sex twice a week had half the death rate of those who only did it once a month.
Hippie party girl: While it’s hard to define what exactly is meant by a hippie, certainly some hippies are those who love live music (some research shows that gig-going may extend life), health food (numerous studies show that this can extend life) and meditation (research supports its impact on longevity). And while you can’t party too much (alcoholism shortens life extensively), people that engage frequently with friends live longer. And, of course, women, on average, live longer than men.
Senior management: Middle-class professionals live years longer than unskilled laborers. Professional men lived to roughly 80, compared with just 72.7 for men in unskilled jobs; professional women to 85.1, versus 78.1.
Cat owner: A study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology found that owning a cat slashed people’s risk of dying from heart disease — which is one of the most common killers.
Of course, many of these studies can’t prove cause and effect, some points (like marriage, healthy eating) have far more research behind them than others, and you may be all of these things and still die prematurely.
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