Live a longer, better life with easy strategies proven to turn back the clock.
Say yes to invitations.
Finding an hour a week to socialize, whether you join friends for dinner or take a knitting class, increases life expectancy as effectively as losing 50 pounds, exercising daily, or quitting smoking, say scientists at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Joseph Maroon, MD, author of Square One: A Simple Guide to a Balanced Life, says group gatherings prompt the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that cuts stress-hormone production by 25 percent and slows the aging of energy-producing mitochondria.
Offer a helping hand.
At least 37 studies suggest that doing a small kindness or two each day, like holding the door for a stranger or making a charitable donation, reduces your risk of premature aging by 60 percent. According to researchers at Georgetown University, the good feeling that comes from helping others spurs the release of more than 200 neuropeptides — natural compounds that help your brain, heart, liver, and immune system function at their peak.
Move for two minutes every hour.
Brain production of human growth hormone — an anti-aging powerhouse that rejuvenates the skin, heart, lungs, liver, muscles, bones, immune system, and more — rises rapidly when you’re in motion. And studies conducted at Harvard University reveal a no-sweat way to experience the perks and cut your risk of premature aging by 30 percent: Putter around for two minutes an hour doing simple tasks like tidying the house or taking a brisk walk.
Try an anti-aging duo.
Together, vitamin D3 and turmeric activate more than 2,000 health-promoting genes, quell inflammation and spur the repair of damaged nerves, tendons, muscle, and bone tissue, says Nancy Lonsdorf, MD, author of The Ageless Woman.
Enjoy a rejuvenating sip.
Drinking 36 ounces of hot or iced green or hibiscus tea daily can reduce your risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even dementia by as much as 50 percent, according to British researchers. The credit goes to the teas’ flavonoids-plant compounds that prevent plaque buildup in brain and heart arteries, plus strengthen and heal insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
Read before bed.
Women who take as little as 15 minutes to relax and unwind before lights-out-by turning off electric gadgets and reading a book or magazine-double their chances of drifting off quickly and getting seven and a half hours of sleep, according to researchers at Cornell University. That’s the amount of sleep required to maximize repair and replacement of damaged tissues, slow cellular aging and supercharge the immune system-effects that can add three and a half years to your life.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.