8 Simple Tips for a Longer, Happier Life [See Them Now]

As we navigate the 21st century, it’s more important than ever to take control of our health and well-being. With the average life expectancy in the U.S. being just over 86 years for women and 84 years for men, it’s crucial to incorporate healthy habits into our daily routines. Here are eight proven ways to extend both the quantity and quality of your life, helping you live better and longer.

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk for a variety of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk for these diseases and enjoy a longer, healthier life. Staying active and following a balanced diet are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a BMI calculator to help determine if you’re at a healthy weight.

2. Stay active

Regular exercise is vital for overall health. Ideally, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, as well as strength training activities twice a week. Staying active can help prevent and manage a wide range of health issues, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and even some types of cancer. For more information on the benefits of physical activity, check out the CDC’s physical activity guidelines.

3. Don’t smoke

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year. By quitting smoking, you can drastically improve your health and add years to your life. If you’re struggling to quit, the CDC offers a variety of resources to help you break the habit.

4. Eat a balanced diet

A nutritious diet is paramount for optimal health and longevity. Strive to consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet is an example of a well-balanced eating plan that has been shown to promote heart health and longevity.

5. Limit alcohol consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to numerous health issues, including liver disease, cancer, and heart disease. Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption; the CDC recommends up to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. For more information about alcohol and its impact on your health, visit CDC’s alcohol and public health page.

6. Manage stress

Chronic stress can take a serious toll on both your physical and mental health. Developing healthy coping mechanisms like deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise, and seeking social support can help you better manage stress and improve your overall well-being. The American Psychological Association provides more information on managing stress and its effects.

7. Prioritize sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Poor sleep can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even a weakened immune system. To improve your sleep, try establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimizing your sleep environment. Browse the National Sleep Foundation’s website for more sleep tips and resources.

8. Stay socially connected

Strong social connections are crucial for overall health and longevity. Research has shown that people with strong social ties have lower risks of heart disease, depression, and other health issues. Foster your connections by joining clubs, volunteering, or organizing get-togethers with friends and family. For more tips on staying socially connected, visit Mental Health America’s website.

By integrating these eight healthy habits into your daily life, you’ll be well on your way to living a longer, healthier, and happier life. Remember, it’s never too late to start taking charge of your health!