5 daily habits to form now for a longer, healthier life

Category: News

If I asked you, “Would you like to live a longer, healthier life?”, the answer is likely to be a resounding, “Yes”.

Indeed, the pursuit of living longer – or “longevity” – has spawned a host of fitness crazes, dietary regimes, self-help books, and scientific research.

And yet, while health and wellbeing trends may come and go, it’s long been known that making a few simple changes to your lifestyle could positively influence your life expectancy.

What’s more, research reported in the Guardian has shown that adopting healthier habits such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep could add more than 20 years to your life – even if you delay making these changes until you reach middle age.

So, if you want to make the most of your twilight years, read on to discover five daily habits you could form now to help you enjoy a longer, healthier life.

1. Build natural movement into your daily routine

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that regular exercise is good for your health and longevity.

However, you don’t need to be a gym lover or fearless mountain climber to reap the life-expectancy-boosting benefits of keeping physically fit.

Indeed, people in the world’s Blue Zones – the locations with the longest life expectancies – generally don’t rely on pumping iron or racing marathons.

Instead, they create environments and routines that encourage natural movement. For example, they might grow gardens and build small inconveniences into their days, such as taking the stairs instead of a lift and walking to appointments instead of calling for a taxi.

Likewise, in countries such as Holland, the culture and infrastructure promote the use of cycling and walking as modes of transport.

So, by ditching the car and cycling to work or walking to collect your grandchildren for a day at the park, you could build natural movement into your routine. This way, you might get your daily steps in without even thinking about it!

2. Identify your purpose in life

In recent years, the Japanese concept of “ikigai” has entered the global lexicon. It refers to a passion that gives value and joy to life or, in simple terms, identifying your purpose.

Having a sense of direction and meaning in life could have a surprisingly powerful effect on your mental and physical health. For example, if you’re feeling low, focusing on your ikigai could help you feel more positive.

This could be especially beneficial during periods of transition in your life, such as entering retirement. During such times, you might lose your sense of purpose and identifying a new ikigai could help you embrace a new phase of your life.

Writing your ikigai down and pinning it somewhere you’ll see it every day, or repeating related affirmations, could help to embed your sense of purpose.

3. Learn how to manage stress effectively

We live in a fast-paced society that often puts pressure on us to be constantly connected and on-the-go. This can lead to chronic stress, which may contribute to poor physical and mental health, such as inflammation, migraines, and depression.

By incorporating stress-relieving rituals into your daily routine, you could reduce the risk of developing these symptoms.

Yoga, journalling, and breathwork are all excellent ways to manage stress effectively.

Happily, World Meditation Day falls on 21 May, offering an ideal opportunity to try out this stress-busting activity.

There are countless mobile apps offering guided meditation. However, all you need is a quiet space and the time to sit quietly for a few moments.

4. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol excessively

Research shows that smoking could increase your risk of developing various diseases as well as shorten your life.

Equally, excessive alcohol consumption may contribute to both physical and mental ill health.

However, it can be difficult to change habits, especially if they have developed over many years. So, it might be worth seeking advice on quitting or cutting down from a medical professional.

You could also set daily goals to help you reduce your drinking and smoking gradually. Strategies such as “habit stacking” could help you build a healthier routine by “stacking” new habits on top of existing behaviours.

For example, if you usually have a morning cigarette with your coffee, you could create a new association, by telling yourself, “After I pour my cup of coffee I will meditate for two minutes”.

5. Consider a plant-based diet

The rise in popularity of plant-based diets in recent years is unlikely to have escaped your attention. Celebrities including Moby, Woody Harrelson, and Stevie Wonder have extolled the virtues of a vegan diet.

However, if you love your breakfast bacon, and can’t imagine giving up the classic Sunday roast, you don’t have to convert fully to a plant-based diet to benefit from eating more vegetables.

Many centenarians in the Blue Zones eat some meat, but they do so sparingly. The bulk of their diet is legumes, vegetables, and nuts.

So, you might consider cutting back on processed foods and introducing a certain number of plant-based days per week. Or you could commit to eating at least one plant-based meal a day.

Indeed, making a few small changes to your daily routine could set you on the path to a longer, healthier life.

Get in touch

If you’d like to learn more about planning your finances to fund a longer life, please contact us by email at info@lloydosullivan.co.uk or call 020 8941 9779 to see how we can help you.

Please note

This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.