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Proven Ways to Add Years to Your Life

Doing these simple things can keep your body younger.

There's still so much we don't fully understand about the human body that the pursuit of living longer might seem beyond our grasp. Turning back the clock to achieve longevity was once only the provenance of sci-fi movies. But in recent years, science has found that doing some simple things can actually keep our bodies younger and expand out lifespan. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Target Aging Cells

Cells under Human system illustration

"New research indicates that we can target aging cells (senescent cells)," says Seema Bonney, MD, founder and medical director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia. "These cells tend to hang around and release chemicals and molecules that mess with our healthy cells. They also trigger inflammation. The number of these senescent cells increases with age but new research indicates that they can be removed and thus increase our lifespan, but we don't need to wait for this technology to increase our lifespan and boost longevity."

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Keep Moving

person walking on a stone bridge

"New research reveals that exercise slows age-related processes within our cells, benefitting the brain," says Bonney. "it can also prevent diabetes and the accumulation of the senescent (aging) cells. Exercise can help protect against Alzheimer's disease." Make walking a natural part of your day. New research published this month found that people who take 7,000 to 9,000 steps a day—or 30 to 45 minutes of exercise most days—reduce their chance of premature death by up to 70%.

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Try Time-Patterned Eating

american woman eating vegetable salad at home

In addition to eating a healthy diet, "There is also research showing the health benefits of restricting eating patterns with our natural circadian rhythm, limiting food to 8 to 12 hours a day and fasting the rest of the time," says Bonney. "Time-patterned eating has been shown to reduce inflammation, reverse type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease." 

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Stay Connected

Family talking over dinner.

Researchers at Yale Medicine recently found that in your older years, social isolation may raise your risk of serious illness or death. Looking at the health data of older people participating in a study on health and aging, they determined that the most socially isolated older adults had a 50% higher "burden of functional disability" in the year after being admitted to intensive care and a 119% greater risk of death. Other studies have linked loneliness to a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and dementia.

RELATED: 5 Signs You Have Dementia and Aren't Aging "Normally"


Maintain a Sense of Purpose

Happy woman and group of volunteers with garbage bags cleaning area in park, copy space

A 2019 study published in JAMA found a link between a strong sense of purpose in life—a reason to get up in the morning—and a lower risk of dying from any cause after age 50. Researchers tracked about 7,000 adults older than 50 for five years; they found participants who had the lowest life-purpose scores were twice as likely to have died than those with the highest scores.

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Manage Stress

In a study published in the journal BMJ Open in 2020, Finnish researchers found that being under heavy stress shortened men's lives 2.8 years and women's 2.3 years. But experiencing a normal amount of life stress seemed not to affect lifespan. Stress seems to cause an inflammatory response in the body, which may increase the risk of heart disease and cancer and even shrink the brain.

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Stay Positive

happy woman sitting by the window

Having a positive view of aging is associated with living longer and living better. According to one study done by Yale psychology professor Becca Levy, a leading researcher in the psychology of aging, people who had positive self-perceptions about growing older lived 7.5 years longer and had lower rates of Alzheimer's disease better than people with more negative views. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael
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