An overview of what you’ll learn in this blog post:
- Ideas to improve sleep quality
- Ways to reduce stress
- Exercising for longevity
The future of aging research holds great potential for slowing down or even reversing the aging process. However, there are some things you can do now while waiting for these technologies to arrive.
No matter how young or old you are, it is never too late to start developing a lifestyle now that may help you to enjoy healthy longevity. There are a few key areas to focus on when trying to increase your chances of a long healthy life.
Sleep is one of the foundations of good health and longevity and yet many people do not get enough quality sleep. In the long-term, this can lead to increased inflammation and can set the scene for age-related diseases to develop.
When we get quality sleep it can help to keep our oxidative stress levels lower and help us resist oxidative stress too. As well as that, regular quality sleep can help to improve our mood and energy levels.
We are designed to sleep at night and be active in the day and while there is some wiggle room for when exactly that is, not doing so is not a good longevity strategy. A 2019 study found that night workers had lower levels of antioxidant defenses and higher levels of oxidative stress damage when compared to day workers.
Poor sleep can also have a harmful impact on the brain. A 2021 study found that poor sleep quality is a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Some sleep tips:
- Avoid night work
- Keeping the room temperature around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) is ideal for sleeping
- Avoid bright lights in the evening including using mobile phones in bed
- Purchase blackout curtains to reduce ambient light in the room
- Remove light sources from devices such as LED bedside clocks
- Try to get exposure to sunlight in the morning to help your body wake up
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants before bedtime
- Invest in a health wearable watch that can monitor sleep quality
Obviously these are only suggestions and you should experiment to find what works for you.
Chronic stress is something that should be avoided. It raises inflammation levels over the long-term and can support the onset of age-related diseases. Chronic stress levels can lead to high glucose levels, increased weight, reduced white blood cell count, and cause your immune system to behave erratically.
But believe it or not, short-term mild stress can be beneficial as it triggers hormesis, a pro-survival response from our cells which increases their defenses against stress and damage.
Exercise, using a sauna, or enjoying a hot tub are all ways to trigger hormesis and make our cells more resistant to stress. These activities if done regularly can support a healthy lifestyle and may improve your odds of enjoying a longer life.
Other activities such as meditation, enjoying creative hobbies such as painting, writing a journal, gardening, or listening to music can all help you to relax. It is important to make some personal time for yourself each day so you can relax.
For other ideas on how to reduce stress check out other stress-reducing tips here.
Regular exercise is probably one of the best things you can do to support a longer healthier life. And you might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym every week. Studies show that even a moderate amount of activity is beneficial.
Aim for between 2.5 to 5 hours a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2.5 hours a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity. Weight training, walking, nordic walking, cycling, swimming, and jogging are all excellent ways to remain active. However, everyone is different so you should feel free to experiment with different activities and find one that works for you.
If you struggle to stay active then involve a friend, it’s easier to stick to a routine when you have someone doing it with you, plus having a friend to talk to while doing it makes it more fun.