7 Factors That Can Affect Your Longevity
If how long you will live has ever crossed your mind, you are not alone. Luckily, new research indicates that there are many factors that are figured in to how long a person will live. In addition to the indicators that you can do nothing about, such as genetics and gender, there are other factors that you have complete control over, such as diet, exercise, education and happiness in your relationships, that may affect your life span. While both genetics and lifestyle choices combine to determine your lifespan, researchers at the B.U. School of Medicine state that genetics play only a small contributing role of about 20 to 30 percent, meaning the rest is up to you. You may have more choice than you thought when it comes to expanding your lifespan by simply making the right choices and deciding how you will live. The following offers you a look at some of the factors that contribute to your overall life expectancy, including genetics and gender.
Factor One: Diet
There are many studies from around the world that indicate that groups who reinforce healthy behaviors and attitudes live longer. For example, a recent study of Seventh-Day Adventists indicated that participants who adopt the church’s blueprint for living manage to live eight years longer than the average American. This does not conclude that you should follow a strictly Mormon diet to achieve life longevity. However, it does prove that diet has a large impact on the overall health of the body. Even if you did not eat the healthiest when you were younger, deciding to slowly switch over to a healthier diet of fresh, preservative and process-free foods is a good start. Consider that your body is your vehicle for getting around on the planet. If you put the wrong fuel in it and do not keep up with “preventative maintenance,” at some point your vehicle is going to experience trouble. Making a point of taking care of your body by putting the best fuel in it can help you to achieve longevity.
Factor Two: Lifestyle Choices
Opting to smoke, drink or take drugs can also negatively impact your overall longevity. Simply taking in enough water, good food, getting enough exercise and sleeping at least seven to eight hours each night can go a long way to living longer. A recent study indicated that adults who experienced a good socio-economic status, low cholesterol and who consumed only moderate amounts of caffeine had the best chances of seeing age 90. This means that even if your parents or grandparents lived to be 100 years of age, it does not necessarily guarantee that you will. Lifestyle choices can affect your longevity as much as other important factors. The term “lifestyle choices” also refers to risky behavior that may place you in physical danger.
Factor Three: Exercise
Recent studies state that in comparison to adults in 1962, nearly 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are considered overweight. 30 percent of these adults are considered obese and five percent are considered morbidly obese. Excessive weight brings with it a whole range of health problems that can limit longevity, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Exercise can go a long way to helping lower your weight and also contributes to the health of your bones and nerve connections. Diet and exercise are some of the key ingredients to living a long and healthy life. Making small changes toward an exercise goal can bring benefit to your overall health.
Factor Four: Genetics and Gender
You really cannot do anything about the gender you were born with or the set of genes that comprise your system. Although genetics is not the overall factor in determining longevity, it does have an impact. Many of the leading causes of death are linked to genetic components and can impact your long life in numerous ways. First, you can inherit certain genes that make you more predisposed to getting a certain disease or disorder, such as diabetes or breast cancer. Likewise, the positive side of the genetic makeup is that you could also inherit genes that make you immune to certain diseases and disorders. Researchers now believe that more people possess the genetic signature that contributes to longevity.
Females tend to live longer than males, with the average life expectancy of 76.4 years of age for men and 82.9 years of age for women. Most researchers believe that a good deal of this propensity for men to die before women is that males show more tendencies for riskier behaviors and lifestyle choices as opposed to women.
Factor Five: Relationships
The happiness factor is a related to longevity and if you want to live longer, you are encouraged to find someone who makes you happy. Married people were found to live longer than those who were not in a relationship. Numerous studies show a direct link between overall health, including mental, physical and emotional health, with a longer life. It is thought that in addition to the companionship and emotional support gained from a happy relationship, couples tended to help one another remain healthy and keep regular doctor’s appointments.
Factor Six: Socio-Economic Status
Your overall financial health is also a contributing factor to longevity. Your income level can affect your ability to gain access to healthcare, healthy food items or to have time to exercise. For those who must work multiple jobs or who live in food deserts, certain conditions and lifestyle choices are limited. Nutrition, exercise and reduced use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco products is often seen in families with higher socio-economic status than those who live in poverty.
Factor Seven: Educational Level
Educational factors are similar in impact as socio-economic factors. Those who are more educated tend to enjoy longer lives by comparison, due in some part to the knowledge about how to be healthy. Secondly, those who are educated are often able to secure better paying jobs. The life expectancy of those with a bachelor’s degree is a little over nine years more than those who do not have a degree.