Jessica Fino 23 Feb 2017 01:54pm

How to live a longer and better life

A new study this week revealed that, by 2030, women born in South Korea will have a life expectancy of 90. With the UK lagging slightly behind with a life expectancy of 85 by then, here are a few tips on how to live a longer and healthier life
Caption: Owning a dog can reduce your risk of heart disease and stress

According to a study funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the US Environmental protection Agency, most of the 35 developed countries will see a rise in life expectancy over the next decade or so.

The UK came in 21st in the list for women at 85.2 and men came in 14th at 82.5. So, apart from being Korean, what can we do to live a longer (and better) life?

Eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day

Yes, that is right. Forget five a day, because new research published this week found that 10 portions of fruit and vegetables is actually much better and can prevent the early death to up to 7.8 million people every year.

Imperial College London said that doubling your daily consumption of greens to 800g can help prevent chronic diseases or an early death by as much as 31%.

Sleep for at least seven hours

You have probably heard this a million times, but one of the best things you can do to sustain a long life really is to go to bed early and get enough sleep.

According to the Biogerontology Research Foundation, sleeping seven hours every night is the secret to a long life, along with mid-day naps.


When you are awake, the best think you can do is not to stress out too much. Several studies over the years have proven that stress raises your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Experts have also claimed that anxious or worried people tend to comfort eat, increasing their changes of becoming obese.

The US Mayo Clinic also found that optimistic people live on average 19% longer than those who are miserable.

Exercise (even if it's just for 30 minutes)

The Mayo Clinic also found that only half an hour of light exercise per day - like gardening or jogging - can dramatically help to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, manage Type 2 diabetes and prevent cancer.

Meanwhile, research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that only 20 minutes of walking or cycling a day has the greatest impact on lowering the risk of heart failure risk among men. That doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

Get a pet

According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet, especially a dog, could reduce your risk of heart disease.

Researchers claim that having a pet at home can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of a heart attack. This is because people with dogs may engage in more physical activity due to the exercise generated by taking them for a walk.

Pets can also have a positive effect on the body’s reactions to stress, the study found.

Watch less TV

Those who spend too much time watching TV are 15% more likely to die from “any cause”, the US National Cancer Institute said in 2015.

The risks begin when people spend three to four hours a day in front of a TV screen, the study found. In the US, 80% of people watch 3.5 hours of TV.

The results suggest that too much sitting can have many different adverse health effects, which means that office jobs can also affect our life expectancy.

Know your family history

There is a good reason why doctors ask about your family’s health history.

Being aware of any conditions that run in your family can help you predict your own health future, a genetics specialist Dr Anand Saggar suggests.

He said that diseases like cancer or heart conditions are genetic if they appear more frequently than we’d expect by chance.

“Knowing your family medical history can save your life,” said Karen Brooks, a genetic counselor and assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, as it will make you more aware of any symptoms you might have.

Don’t be anti-social

People who spend time with family and friends are 50% less likely to die young than those with no social life. In fact, being lonely can be as bad to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to research by the Brigham Young University in Utah.

Moreover, a lack of social interaction can make old people more vulnerable to depression and lead to problems such as excessive drinking, poor diet and a reduction in exercise.