1. Play a musical instrument
If you gave up the piano or guitar when you were younger, now may be the time to pick it up again. A study at the US’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, at Northwestern University found that playing a musical instrument keeps you younger than your tone-deaf peers. In the report, of the study published in 2011, co-author and laboratory director Nina Kraus found that playing a musical instrument meant that you would maintain healthy levels of memory and hearing.
2. Consume more grapes
Red grape skins contains an ingredient called resveratrol, one of the most powerful antioxidants, which helps your body fight free radicals that cause ageing and ill health, say experts. The antioxidant has been show to reduce inflammation which reduces the risks of heart attack, stroke, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables
To cut kilojoules, pile your plate with fruits and vegetables. Ensure that you consume your recommended servings of five veggies and two fruits each day. Variety is key, so eat a colourful array of your servings.
Related: 7 Must Eat Super Fruits
4. Friendships are important
Spending time with friends and family will enrich your life and can reduce your risk of death by up to 50 per cent. Avoiding social occasions on the other hand can be as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translate to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks. Studies have shown that one’s health improves when we feel happy and socialise with others.
5. Portion control - less is more
According to research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the US, kilojoule restriction in non-obese people means less oxidative damage in muscle cells. As oxidative damage has been linked to ageing, it may be that limiting your kilojoules by 20 per cent a day could help you live longer. Basically, eat less of the bad foods and more of the good foods.
6. Nice colleagues
The personality of your colleagues doesn’t just influence your day; whether they’re amiable or not may influence how long you live. In a study published in the American Psychological Association journal Health Psychology, those who felt accepted and valued at work had lower mortality rates than those who didn’t.
7. Be altruistic
Women who volunteer for about 40 to 100 hours a year, or one hour or so a week, live longer that those who do not do social work.
8. Get busy under the sheets
Having satisfying sex two to three times per week can add as many as three years to your life. Getting busy can burn an impressive amount of calories—sometimes as much as running for 30 minutes. (Which would you rather do?)
Regular sex may also lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, boost your immunity, and protect your heart.
Related: 10 Surprising Health Benefits of More Sex
10. Get away from the television
Too much time in front of the TV can take a serious toll on your health. In fact, a 2010 study found that people who watched four or more hours a day were 46 per cent more likely to die from any cause than people who watched less than two hours a day.
11. Consume alcohol in moderation
Women who have two or more drinks a day may run into detrimental effects ranging from weight gain to relationship problems. But in smaller quantities, alcohol can actually be good for you.
A 2010 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology linked light drinking (defined as one drink a day for women) to significant heart benefits.
Related: 10 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Body And Health
12. Get moving
A 2008 study found that regular high-intensity exercise (such as running) can add up to four years to your life, which isn’t surprising given the positive effects working out has on your heart, mind, and metabolism. Even moderate exercise—a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example—can lower your risk of heart problems.
Text: Bauer/ Good Health/ Additional Reporting: Shenielle Aloysis