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How to add years to your life

For centuries, people have been in search of a 'fountain of youth'. And even now that our life expectancy is increasing day by day, we certainly wouldn't mind adding a few more years to our lifespan.

So, what if that legendary fountain wasn't a fountain at all? Here are some great tips and insights from New Zealand insurers, to help you enjoy a longer life.

Genetics or lifestyle?

Is longevity determined more by genetics or by lifestyle? According to research, it takes two to tango. And the impact of environmental and lifestyle factors may actually be bigger than expected.

According to a massive Harvard study* cited by nib, five healthy lifestyle habits have the most significant impact on life expectancy, potentially adding 12 years to men's average lifespan, and 14 years to women's. These key habits include:

  • Exercising regularly — Harvard researchers say that 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous walking a day are enough to extend your life further. Especially if you combine this habit with…
  • Eating healthy food — Another way to increase your longevity is eating healthy food, the Harvard study suggests. This means a lot of fruit, veges, whole grains and nuts, and fewer sugary drinks, sodium, and processed meats.
  • Quitting smoking — According to the study, no amount of tobacco is healthy. But the good news is that you can quit at any age to reap some benefits. A separate study found that those who stop at age 35 live 8.5 years longer on average than those who continued to smoke. And did we tell you that non-smoker insurance premiums are also significantly lower?
  • Keeping body weight under control — Researchers say that aiming for a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 is another way to increase your lifespan. Not quite sure where you stand? You can use our BMI calculator here.
  • Limiting alcohol consumptionAccording to the NZ Ministry of Health, you can reduce long-term health risks by drinking no more than two standard drinks a day or 10 standard drinks a week, if you're a woman. If you're a man, that's three standard drinks a day and no more than 15 standard drinks a week. Plus, at least two alcohol-free days every week are recommended.

Looking for an anti-ageing workout regime?

As we said, exercising regularly can go a long way in slowing down your ageing process. But what if it could reverse it as well?

If you're looking for a more intense anti-ageing regime, research mentioned here by AIA claims to have found the magic formula to shave 20 years off your biological clock.

Researchers recruited 19 masters athletes, aged 55 to 74. For six weeks, all that the participants did was a one high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cycle session every five days, plus 30 minutes of gentle walking or jogging a day. The HIIT session consisted of six 30-second sprints interspersed by three minutes of active recovery.

As a result, their age-related physiological profile improved, and so did their leg power, body fat, and aerobic capacity. Numerous other studies also suggest that HIIT workouts can do wonders for mental and physical health. Why not give it a try?

Here to help

At LifeDirect, we care about protecting your financial health. If you're looking for cover, our quote compare tool is a good place to start, but we're also real people and we're just a phone call away. Call us on 0800 800 400, start a Live Chat or fill in our contact form to get in touch with our team.

*Methodology: Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health used data from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). The NHS included over 78,000 women and followed them from 1980 to 2014. The HPFS included over 40,000 men and followed them from 1986 to 2014. This is over 120,000 participants, 34 years of data for women, and 28 years of data for men. The researchers looked at NHS and HPFS data on diet, physical activity, body weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption that had been collected from regularly administered, validated questionnaires.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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