Easy Strategies to Slow Down the Aging Process

John Gray

The average life expectancy for Americans is just shy of 79 years old. We're living longer than ever. An average American born in 2013 will be alive nearly four years longer than someone born in 1993. However, those extra years are far from guaranteed. In fact, life expectancy in the United States has only been growing at about 0.1 years per year, which is slower than rates in all other developed countries. Why?

Our modern lifestyles are threatening to reverse our life expectancy. More and more people are eating more and more foods high in fat and sugar. At the same time, more and more people are exercising less and less. When you combine these factors with the increase of environmental toxins, the rise in stress and the overuse of certain medications, you can begin to understand why many people will not live longer than their parents.

I stopped taking my health for granted when I turned 40. I take my health even less granted today, but the changes I made when I turned 40 have extended my life, energy and vitality 40 times over.

It's never too late to change your life, especially your quality of life. These are the top 5 ways you may be shortening your life that you can change today.

1. Smoking

Not only does smoking shorten your life, but it also reduces your quality of life too. Smokers live 10 years less on average and suffer from side effects like insomnia, shortness of breath and anxiety.

2. No Exercise
Exercise and physical activity has been shown add quality years to your life, especially after age 50. Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk for coronary heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

3. Poor Diet
Foods high in sugar, fat and carbohydrates lead to obesity and chronic health conditions. It makes sense when research shows the more chronic medical conditions you have, the shorter your life will be.

4. Chronic Stress 

Chronic stress damages tissues in the body through the continual exposure to harmful stress hormones, This also interferes with your sleep and makes you no fun to be around, which leads to having fewer friends...

5. Poor Relationships
Relationships are an essential part of health. Isolation and loneliness create responses in the body similar to those of stress. One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that a lack of strong relationships in a person's life increased the risk of premature death by 50% — comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

Many people think they don't have the time or energy to exercise and eat healthy. I don't believe it. Look at me, I'm over 60 and spend days on the road, working 20 hour days sometimes. Rarely do I even grow tired. I usually wake up feeling great and refreshed for the next day. I am often asked how I keep going so strong, when do I exercise, what I eat, and what supplements I take.

So I am going to share my 5 biggest secrets for living a healthy life. I encourage you to give these changes a month and see if you don't start feeling better. Focus on the immediate benefits like better sleep, more energy and an improved mood.

1. Eat Right

Choose organic fruits and vegetables over carbohydrates whenever possible. A study in the UK of 16,792 men and women aged 40 to 79 years old investigated people's eating habits and health outcomes. The more fruits and vegetables people ate, the better their overall health. Diets rich in green and purple vegetables are great for your heart and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Adding 2 additional portions of fruits and vegetables a day increased the chances that someone would be in good functional health by 11 percent.

Simply eat a piece of fruit for your afternoon snack and double your veggies at dinner.

2. Exercise More

If you don't use it, you will lose it. Stanford University researchers tracked runners and non-runners for 21 years. They found that runners didn't just get less heart disease, they also had fewer cancers, infections and neurologic diseases --- and they live longer. I have never been a fan of running and I think it ultimately does more damage to your muscles and bones than it is worth. There are a number of other low-impact aerobic exercises that you can choose.

3. Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is an essential part of the body’s healing system. Without it, injuries would last longer and infections could turn deadly. Too much inflammation, however is dangerous. Chronic low-grade inflammation sets the stage for high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes, and even vascular dementia, a common cause of memory loss. Inflammation doesn’t happen on its own. It is the body’s response to a number of modern irritations like smoking, lack of exercise, and processed foods full of fat and sugar. 

4. Restful Sleep
People who don't get enough sleep die younger than people who get sufficient sleep. In a 2010 study, men who got fewer than six hours of a sleep a night were four times more likely to die over a 14-year period. This doesn't mean you should overdo it either. A number of studies suggest that more than nine hours of sleep can increase your risk for an earlier death. One study found that long sleepers faced a 30 percent higher chance of premature death than people who slept around seven to eight hours a night.

5. Good Relationships
A relationship full of turmoil and arguments has a big impact on how long you live. Brigham Young University researchers found in their study of 1,700 married adults that the more arguing there was in the relationship, the worse the adults' health. Unstable relationships increase stress which increases inflammation in the body and reduces the effectiveness of the immune system.

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