This article was last updated on Aug. 5, 2022.
It’s no secret: Americans are living much longer than they were more than a century ago. Thanks to the advancement and evolution of modern medicine and technology, we’re seeing an average life expectancy of 76.9 years. This estimate — which was updated at the end of 2020 — is two years less than the previous life expectancy, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic External Site.
While this updated life expectancy estimate is still longer than previous generations, there’s a catch.
There are a number of factors that go into a long life. And, news flash: Your genetics only make up a small portion of your overall health and well-being and 30 percent of your life expectancy. In the end, it begins and ends with you making the choice to live a healthy lifestyle — and yes, luck needs to play in your favor, too.
5 simple tricks to add years to your life
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to aim for 30 minutes of physical activity per day External Site. Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Keeping physically active is key to a healthy lifestyle, but be sure to check with your doctor External Site before you start any new exercise routine.
Fill up your plate with healthy eats
With the number of fad diets and food trends, it can be overwhelming when trying to eat a healthy diet. It’s important to remind yourself to cut through the noise and get back to the basics. If you can’t read or pronounce any of the ingredients, don’t eat it. Keep your plate filled with protein, healthy fats, veggies, fruits and grains.
Get enough Zzz’s
According to the American Sleep Association®, more than 50 million U.S. adults are suffering from insomnia External Site. With a number like that, it’s more than likely you, or someone you know, is struggling to get the recommended 6–8 hours of sleep per night.
Manage your stress
It’s hard not to be stressed out these days. Between your full-time job, after-work activities, and making sure all the kiddos are picked up from school and fed dinner, it’s likely your mind is running around in circles. If you don’t identify and stop stress in its tracks, it can lead to a number of health issues such as insomnia, high blood pressure, and even weight gain.
Develop strong, personal relationships
From our computers, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, cellphones and more, we’re a society that is constantly distracted. Instead of sitting down at the dinner table and talking about the day, we’re sitting in front of the TV watching the latest season of your favorite show on Netflix. It’s time to turn off the technology and start developing the strong, personal relationships with those who matter most.
Get fitness gear and apparel at a discount
If you’re a Wellmark member, you can take advantage of the free Blue365® program. Blue365 gives you deals and discounts on your favorite health and wellness brands.
We’ve got a challenge for you: Each week write down a commitment to make one healthy choice. Once you have those down, take each of the commitments and build on them, a little bit at a time. If you’re looking for a new approach to living a healthier life (and living longer), try “habit stacking.”
You’ve only got one body: take care of it.
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- Inc.com — These 5 Habits Literally Add Years to Your Life, According to a New Harvard Study External Site
- Verywellhealth.com — 10 Simple Steps to Increase Your Life Expectancy External Site
- Verywellhealth.com — How You Can Increase Your Longevity External Site
- Inc.com — We Compared Life Expectancy in All 50 States to Countries Around the World. The Results Are Truly Stunning External Site
- MayoClinic.org — How much should the average adult exercise every day? External Site
- CBSNews.com — 9 big lies about longevity External Site