You might be able to travel and see more of the world.
You might be able to spend more time with your kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids. You might be able to make a bigger impact on the areas of life that are most important to you.
While there are no guarantees, recent research has uncovered 9 ways we can proactively change our lifestyle to dramatically increase our odds of living an extra 10 healthy years.
Let’s start with how long you can expect to live based on actuarial tables. For example, a 65-year old male can expect to live, on average, to age 84. By contrast, a 65-year old female can expect to live, on average, to nearly age 87. If you’d like to calculate your life expectancy based on your current age, simply click here to visit the Social Security Administration Life Expectancy calculator.
Research in aging suggests genetics plays a role in whether we’ll live to age 85, but it accounts for only about 20 to 30 percent of our probability of living to that age, according to Scientific American. This means, short of an accident, about 70 to 80 percent of our probability of living to age 85 is within our control.
Other research has taken it a step further and identified 9 lifestyle factors that are closely associated with living an extra 10 to 12 years beyond our normal life expectancy. By studying pockets of people who have far exceeded the average life expectancy, researchers from Blue Zones and National Geographic have identified the following 9 factors that lead to an extra 10 – 12 years of healthy life.
9 Ways to Add 10 Healthy Years
- Move Naturally. Instead of hitting the gym everyday, make sure you spend time moving throughout the day and do some things manually instead of relying on modern technology.
- Have a Purpose. Having a reason to wake up in the morning has been shown to add as much as 7 extra years to your life expectancy.
- Shed Your Stress. Find a way to say goodbye to stress. Stress kills and the longest-lived people typically have ways to reduce stress by regularly praying, remembering ancestors, taking a nap, or partaking in happy hour.
- Follow the 80% Rule. Stop eating when you feel like you’re about 80 percent full and eat your smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening.
- Eat More Vegetables and Beans. The longest-living people eat a lot of vegetables and beans but not much meat.
- Moderate Wine Drinking. While I’m not advocating you start drinking, the research shows moderate drinkers tend to outlive non-drinkers.
- Attend Faith-Based Services. It doesn’t matter what the denomination is but attending a weekly faith-based service can add several years to your life expectancy.
- Keep Family First. Living close to and cherishing multiple generations of your family can lead to a longer than normal life.
- Carefully Choose Your Social Networks. Long-lived people tend to hang around other people who practice and support healthy lifestyle habits. Lifestyle habits can be contagious so if you want to be healthy and happy, hang around other healthy and happy people.
While practicing these 9 lifestyle choices cannot guarantee you will live a healthy life into your early 90s, it may dramatically stack the odds in your favor.
Which of these 9 most deeply resonated with you? Which ones can you get started on today?
I encourage you to pick one of these lifestyle choices and get started on it today. Make it a new part of your life. And once you have that lifestyle choice part of your routine, pick a second one to focus on.
You may be surprised at how much better you feel knowing that you are taking positive actions in your life to live healthy and with direction.
Who knows, maybe someday researchers will be studying you to determine how you became so healthy at 100!
Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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