Care for others
Two recent studies suggest surprising but heartwarming keys to a longer life. You’re more likely to rack up the years if you:
Expect the best. Of 100,000 women in the Women’s Health Initiative study, those rated optimistic by special questionnaires were 14 per cent less likely than pessimists to die during the study’s first eight years.
Care for a loved one. Despite the stress involved, men and women who put in the most time taking care of a spouse cut their own risk of dying by 36 per cent over a seven-year period, researchers at the University of Michigan found.
Set a goal for greater edge
Whether you believe you have some purpose to fulfill on earth, or just have trips you plan to take and books you want to read, you have a survival edge over people with fewer goals. So say researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago who interviewed more than 1200 older adults. Elders with sure intentions and goals were about half as likely as aimless seniors to die over the five-year follow-up.
Expose yourself to the ‘sunshine vitamin’
Low vitamin D levels have been associated with osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. And it gets worse: according to new research, adults who don’t get enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ are 26 per cent more likely to die early. A 12-year study of 13,000 men and women didn’t finger any one cause of death, “because vitamin D’s impact on health is so widespread,” says researcher, Dr Michal Melamed.
Besides drinking fortified milk, she suggests that you: get just 10 to 15 minutes of midday sunshine (11 am to 3 pm) several days a week, applying sunscreen after those few minutes. You can also take supplements for the anti-ageing benefits.