9 Fun and Easy Ways to Add Years to Your Life

by Nicholas Pell on 28 April 2014 2 comments

Life is one of those good things that you can never have too much of. If you're anxious about your own mortality, you're not alone. But there are also some things, short of freezing your head, that you can do to stick around longer. Living longer doesn't have to be about sacrifice and spending hours on the treadmill. In fact, you can extend the length of your life while improving its quality. Here are eight fun ways to increase your lifespan and one to bring you back down to earth. (See also: Small Healthy Habits for a Longer Life)

1. Have Sex on the Regular

Let's start this article off with some good news: Having more sex helps you to live longer. There are a number of other benefits associated with having sex more frequently, too. You'll sleep better, be less depressed, have higher self-esteem, and increased cardiovascular health. For men, it even significantly decreases the risk of prostate cancer. What's not to like?

2. Drink a Little Bit

Some more good news for the hedonists. People who drink alcohol have longer life expectancies than people who do not. The effects of alcohol consumption taper off at around four drinks a day, so you don't want to overdo it. Still, a couple of glasses of wine or a Scotch on the rocks at the end of a hard day can help you to live longer. (See also: Wines That Taste Pricier Than They Are)

3. Get a Pet

Pets, especially dogs, apparently, can help you to live longer. Not only do dogs make people more optimistic, they also have a reason to leave the house every day and go for a walk. All told, you're going to live about 12% longer if you have a dog than if you don't. Check out the local shelter. There are tons of homeless animals looking for a forever home with a lot of love to give.

4. Have a Laugh or Three

Laughter might actually be the best preventative medicine. Studies show that laughter can help increase your life expectancy. There are other health benefits of laughter, too, including relaxation, a boosted immune system, and heart protection. So throw on a Patton Oswalt CD and laugh yourself to a longer life.

5. Go Golfing

If you're looking for a pastime that's going to extend your life while also giving you something to do, look no further than the links. A Scandinavian study found that regular golfers cut their death rate by 40%. Mark Twain might have called it a great way to ruin a perfectly good walk, but there's apparently something about the cocktail of sunlight, exercise, and frustration that helps you to live longer.

6. Take a Nap

Don't be afraid to have a quick catnap here and there. Not only does a nap increase productivity, it might also help you to live longer by lowering blood pressure. The next time you're feeling a little run down in the middle of the day, learn about the science of napping, then set a timer and get 40 winks in.

7. Make Some Friends

Our connectivity to other people doesn't just allow for social opportunity. Our friendships also help us live longer. People with smaller (real life) social networks are 50% more likely to die at a young age than people connected to friends and their communities. So profound is the power of having a big social circle that it can impact your life expectancy as strongly as quitting smoking can. (See also: Make Friends and Be Happy)

8. Learn a Foreign Language

If you've ever wanted to learn a foreign language, don't delay. Dr. Andrew Weil claims that learning a language other than your mother tongue will help to fight off Alzheimer's and other aging-related illnesses. It's also a great way to make new friends. (See also: Great Language Apps)

9. Quit Eating (or at Least Cut Back on) Meat

Now for a bit of a downer. The verdict is in: Vegetarians and vegans live longer than meat eaters do. A study of over 73,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, a Christian sect that eschews meat, found increased life expectancy among the meat abstinent. Consider having Meatless Mondays a mainstay around your house. Somewhat related, eating fish twice a week is also correlated with a longer lifespan.

What are you doing to extend your lifespan? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

Fun post! The common theme that I see with most of these is to relax and enjoy life (in moderation). Humans stress too much, often about money or money-related issues. Adopting these habits will alleviate stress and let people enjoy life.

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Chris

Interesting article with some great suggestions. However, you may want to note that a recent study from the Medical University of Graz (Austria) casts doubt on #9. It reaches the opposite conclusion and finds a vegetarian only diet generally results in less healthy individuals than meat eaters. Previously, I have advocated a raw vegan diet, so there is certainly a split on the issue.