8 Healthy Habits for a Longer Life

| Women's Health

Hearing stories of people living up to 100 (or even older) motivates you to do the right things now, so you can be that person that outlives everyone else. You're probably wondering what the secret to longevity is. According to Live Science, the life expectancy of the average American is 77.6 years. If you want to beat the odds, check out some of these habits to practice for a longer life.

(Photo: Best of Gwinnett)

Don’t smoke. Thank you, Captain Obvious! Although you hear about this all the time, the value of the advice stays the same as the first time you heard it. If you smoke you can get lung, esophagus, kidney, bladder or stomach cancer. Smoking also increases your risk of a heart attack. When you quit smoking, you add years to your life because, if you stop now, you prevent yourself from getting smoking-related diseases. If you're trying to quit smoking, click here. (via Tobacco Free Maine)

>> Read more: 5 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain After You Quit Smoking

Have more sex. This is a taboo topic for some people and you probably won't believe this, but sex can help you live longer. First off, sex reduces the risk of heart disease. As some of you may know, heart disease takes first place in the cause of death for women over 40 years old. Having sex is a form of working out because you get the heart pumping and also reap benefits like lower stress levels. So, make time to bond with your significant other, because it can benefit you in a good way — living longer. (via EmpowHer & Huffington Post)

Drink in moderation. Drinking is very tempting, especially when you walk down the wine aisle at your local grocery store. You see all of these great wines and your mind tells you to grab them all. Well, drinking isn’t actually bad for you when you do it in moderation. According to Health Magazine, a study found in the Journal of the American Cardiology suggests that if you limit yourself to one glass of red wine a day, it can actually improve your heart health, but drinking too much can lead to heart failure. (via Heart)

>> Read more: The Horrors of Binge Drinking: What Too Many Drinks Actually Do To  Your Body

Be happy. Life can get you down sometimes, but having a positive outlook can give you the gift of longevity. A research study suggests that people who are happy tend to have a 35 percent less chance of passing away over a five-year period. Just being happy positively affects people who had chronic diseases as well. Exercise is a great activity that makes you happy because it releases endorphins. Another way to be happy is to look on the bright side of things. So, show those pearly whites and be happy! (via Huffington Post)

happy woman

Get more rest. This sounds easier said than done. Busy lives get in the way of sleep. You have to pack your kid’s lunch, take them to school, take a shower and actually have a bite to eat really quick before you rush off somewhere else. By the end of the day you're exhausted. Well, if exhaustion is calling your name, just go to sleep! About seven to eight hours of sleep should do the trick. When you have enough sleep, you live a healthier life. (via Livestrong)

Exercise more. This probably sounds familiar to you. Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle prevents diseases, which gives you a longer life! Exercising tacks years onto your life, especially if you're over age 50. If you're already active, your goal should be to stay as active as you possibly can. Start by jogging to the store or going on a walk with your little one. The whole point is to move your body! (via Longevity)

Eat healthy. Foods like fruits and vegetables are very important to eat. Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale help you live longer. These leafy vegetables have vitamin K and C in them, which is vital for your body. Veggies and fruit also ward off cancer. Fruit contains natural sugars, unlike the processed and refined sugars that cause Type 2 diabetes. According to the American Institute For Cancer Research, fruits and veggies prevent more an 20 percent of all types of cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in the world. So, take the time out of your day to eat a bit healthier. Instead of eating a breakfast sandwich at your local fast food restaurant, go for some eggs and spinach instead. (via Healthy Eating & Eating Healthy Foods)

Limit your time in the sun. Let’s be honest: The sun feels good. Just laying on the beach in your bikini makes you feel like you're in heaven, and the most enjoyable part of vacation is sitting in the sun with your book in hand, soaking up the moment. We all need some vitamin D, but too much sun exposure can increase your chance of skin cancer. The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most dangerous times to be in the sun because that’s when the sun's ultraviolet rays damage the most. Keep in mind that skin cancer is very preventable. In fact, it’s the most preventable type of cancer out there. Make sure you take the step to prevent it by using sunscreen and an umbrella before going out into the sun. (via About Health)

Just making the little changes to live long really makes a difference. You want to do everything you can now, so you can be the healthiest you can be later. What's your reason for taking care of yourself to ensure longevity? Share with us in the comments below.