Health

Everyday Habits That Can Actually Help You Live Longer

Published On 05/19/2016 Published On 05/19/2016

In all likelihood, you won't make it to 100. It sucks, but dammit, that doesn't mean you can't try! Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know not to smoke, to cut back on alcohol, exercise, and of course eat well. But somehow there must be a way to have a drink -- even a sip! -- from the fountain of youth, right?

According to doctors, there are indeed things you can do to increase your odds of living a long life. So, raise a glass well in advance of your 100th birthday.

Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Rub on the sunscreen

"This is something so easy to add to your daily routine, yet so many people skip it or forget about it. Many people think that unless they're planning to be outside for the entire day, going to the beach, exercising, etc., sunscreen isn't necessary. However, you should apply sunscreen any time you're outside, even if just for a few minutes. If you're walking to work, taking your dog for a walk, running back and forth between your car and stores to do errands... this is all time that you're spending outside with your skin exposed to the sun. Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis will keep your skin looking young and wrinkle-free, and more importantly, it will help protect you against skin cancer and therefore help you live longer." -- Dr. Alan J. Parks
 

Stop sitting so much

"Anything which makes a person more sedentary might contribute to a shorter, and certainly more miserable lifespan. So of the things I see which contribute most to this sedentary status, obesity and participation in potentially injurious sports rank high. Both of these situations result in destructive forces upon our weight-bearing joints, and in the long term result in pain and subsequently a more sedentary lifestyle. -- Dr. Barbara Bergin
 

Buckle up, duh

"Wear your seatbelt! Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the US, especially in young adults. Wearing your seatbelt is an important daily habit that may save your life if you are ever in an automobile accident. It is absolutely critical to buckle up each and every time you are driving." -- Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe

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Seriously commit to relaxation

"The inability to manage stress may result in some serious health consequences. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on both your emotional and physical well-being and it is related to several significant health problems. If you have trouble dealing with stress, this can also potentially accelerate the aging process over time. One must practice self-care on a daily basis to help prolong life. Find your own self-care strategies to cope with stress and avoid burn out. Those that are able to manage their stress can more effectively slow down the aging process and prolong their lifespan." -- Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe
 

Get your vitamin D

"People with high levels of vitamin D have a much lower rate of heart disease, so get 20 to 60 minutes of sun daily, depending on skin tone, ideally in early morning or late afternoon. Although sun exposure has gotten a lot of bad press, it promotes health as well as supports positive brain moods." -- Dr. Al Sears

[Editor’s Note: Just make sure you're wearing sunscreen.]
 

If you eat meat, make sure it's from a high-quality source

"Just because meat is labeled ‘organic’ doesn't mean that the cattle have never been subjected to antibiotics, it means that the meat does not have detectable levels at time of slaughter. Ask for grass-fed, or get products from local farms." -- Dr. Al Sears
 

Get regular cancer screenings

"The best advice I can offer here is to make sure you keep up to date on cancer screenings, especially in the case of colon cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths but is the most preventable if detected early." -- Dr. Strick Woods

Nikolaev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Don't underestimate the importance of sleep

"Getting enough sleep is absolutely critical to function properly on a day-to-day basis. Chronic sleep deprivation can age you and negatively impact your longevity. One should obtain the recommended amount of seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night." -- Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe

"Sleep is the most underrated tool for resource and renewal for our bodies, and sleep hygiene is rarely practiced well. You should sleep at least six hours per night, others need up to nine hours per night. Test it by sleeping without setting an alarm and your body will tell you how much you need if you do not have a sleep disorder." -- Dr. Lisa Ashe
 

Get a dog

"A study of Chinese women showed dog owners exercised more often, slept better, reported better fitness levels and fewer sick days, and saw their doctors less often than people without dogs. Just the exercise alone should be helpful." -- Dr. Nathan Wei
 

Get tested (and seek treatment) for STDs

"Fifty percent of the people in our country alone will contract an STI in their lifetimes. Astoundingly, as many as two-thirds of most STDs occur within the first three months of a new relationship. You risk getting a sexually transmitted infection every time you engage in a sexual act. STDs are a fact of life, and the only recourse is to make your health a priority, use condoms, and get tested. Putting things on hold due to fear of STDs and HIV isn't worth it when a simple test will give you the answer." -- Dr. Gary A. Richwald

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Carson Quinn is an Indianapolis-based writer who would be 100% happy living to age 99. Follow her on Twitter @NewsCarson or Facebook.

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