10 Ways to Add 10 Years to Your Life

10 Ways to Add 10 Years to Your Life

When I took a course in human growth and development across the lifespan, my professor encouraged us to think ahead to our old age. She stressed that we wouldn’t be young forever, and the decisions we make now will influence us later—which can be a good thing or a bad thing. I began to think about changes I could make to my lifestyle that would help me live a long, healthy life. Turns out, there’s a lot you can do today—starting now—to increase your longevity. Here are ten changes to make today that can possibly add years to your life:

10 ways to add 10 years to your life

  1. Eat a good breakfast. Many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast maintain a healthier weight than those who don’t eat breakfast. This is because it kick-starts your metabolism and prevents you from over-eating at lunch. Oatmeal is a great heart-healthy choice. The instant oatmeal has sweeteners added, so go for the old-fashioned kind. Mix in some dried fruit, walnuts, and cinnamon to add flavor and extra nutrients. To add sweetness, stir in a little organic honey or sugar.
  2. Drink two cups of green tea daily. Green tea contains antioxidants, which are chemicals that bind to free-radicals (charged molecules that can cause cancer and other diseases) in your body. Countless studies have indicated that green tea may help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in America. The studies have not pinpointed how much green tea is necessary to get maximum benefits, but tea-drinkers usually go for two to three cups a day.
  3. Register for a 5K to support a great cause. Having a specific fitness goal like finishing a 5K is a great way to motivate yourself to work out. For extra motivation, have a friend or family member sign up as well. Usually 5Ks end with a live band and food. The endorphins, the camaraderie with your fellow runners, and the knowledge that you’ve supported a good cause will keep depression at bay.
  4. Go to a yoga class twice a week. Yoga helps improve balance and flexibility by forcing you to hold yourself in uncomfortable positions for several seconds. Balance becomes poorer with age, so attending a class once a week may help offset this. Studies in yoga have also indicated that it helps lower blood pressure, improve posture, and sharpens the mind. Not to mention that group exercise classes are a great way to meet new people.
  5. Turn off the electronics one hour before bedtime. That includes laptops, cell phones, tablets, and television. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll in 2011 which found that 95% of participants used at least one of these devices right before bed. These electronics emit a blue light that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep and may cause you to not sleep as well. This type of light interferes with the brain’s release of melatonin, a hormone necessary for restful sleep. Find a new way to wind down at night, like reading a book or taking a warm bath.
  6. Go for a walk. Studies have shown that sitting for long increments of time leads to high cholesterol and increased weight, even if you do exercise and eat right. Whether you spend a lot of time sitting at work, in a classroom, or on the computer, take breaks throughout the day to walk outside and get some sun. It will help clear your mind and get the blood flowing. Who knows, your greatest ideas and inspiration may come to you when taking a quiet walk.
  7. Learn your numbers. BMI, BMR, blood pressure, cholesterol, and waist circumference are important numbers to be aware of. If your numbers are in the danger zone, see your doctor. Getting on board with the right diet, medications, and/or exercise regimen could save your life.
  8. Call an old friend. Many centenarians have maintained an active social life, and some speculate that this is the key to their longevity. Text, tweet, call, or email an old friend today. Not only will you be helping yourself, but your friend too.
  9. Clean out the pantry. Replace snack foods with fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains.
  10. Start following health news. Follow the Center for Disease Control on Twitter. “Like” WebMD on Facebook. New studies are being published every day that reveal more information about causes and treatments of diseases. Stay updated on the healthiest foods, the most effective exercises, and new ways to improve your lifestyle. When it comes to your health, never stop learning.
10 Ways to Add 10 Years to Your Life

A Guest Writer

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