The biggest factor that determines how well you age and how long you will live, has a lot to do with how well you live.
1. Eat breakfast every day.
Studies show that people who lived to be 100 years old were consistent breakfast eaters, or consumed breakfast more often than non-breakfast eaters. Also, those who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to develop fatal habits like smoking and excessive drinking. And thanks to all of the benefits of breakfast, the body has an increased chance of warding off disease. Getting a serving of whole-grains, especially in the morning, appears to help maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. Those who do this have a lower incidence of diabetes, a known accelerator of aging.
2. Floss daily.
That may help keep your arteries healthy. Daily flossing reduces the amount of bacteria that causes gum disease in the mouth. This bacteria is thought to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease. Research has shown that those who have high amounts of bacteria in their mouth are more likely to have thickening in their arteries, another sign of heart disease.
3. Get moving.
Study after study has documented the benefits of exercise to improve your mood, mental acuity, balance, muscle mass, and bones. Simply walking around the neighborhood or local mall for about 30 minutes a day. Building muscle with resistance training is also ideal, but yoga classes can give you similar strength-training effects if you're not into weight lifting.
4. Eat whole foods and use supplements.
Strong evidence shows that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients-selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E-age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Avoid nutrient-lacking white foods (breads, flour, sugar) and go for all those colorful fruits and vegetables and dark whole-grain breads and cereals with their host of hidden nutrients.
5. Get some sleep.
At least six hours a night. It’s tempting to think that getting less sleep will add more hours to your day. But getting more sleep will add years to your life. Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells.
6. Stay connected.
Having regular social contacts with friends and loved ones is key to avoiding depression, which can lead to premature death, something that's particularly prevalent in elderly widows and widowers. Some psychologists even think that one of the biggest benefits elderly folks get from exercise the strong social interactions that come from walking with a buddy or taking a group exercise class.