50 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Genetics account for just 25% of a person's longevity. The rest is up to you!

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - For many years, people thought that in order to find out how long someone was going to live, you just needed to look at how long their parents lived. However, that's not the case anymore. Experts say many factors need to be taken into account to get a sense of someone's longevity. There are a lot of things you can do to live a longer life, including having a pet and taking an annual vacation. 

People who are health conscious often worry about what they put in their mouths, but what about the overall safety of the food?

"About 3,000 people die every year from food poisoning so it's really important to make sure that you are food safe," said Gabi Redford, Executive Editor at AARP in Washington, D.C. "Keep your kitchen pristine, you want to keep raw and cooked foods separate, you want to make sure you wash all of your utensils and you want to wash all of your produce including that bagged lettuce."

Redford also says not taking a yearly vacation can be deadly.

 "In one study they found that men who did not take an annual vacation were 32% more likely to have a heart attack and women who vacationed only once every 6 years were 8 times more likely to suffer from heart disease or heart attacks as well," said Redford. "So it might be time to start planning that summer vacation."

Redford also says exercise is crucial; however, you don't have to exercise a lot to get the benefits.

"Exercise is one of the best prescriptions for a long, healthy life and doctors are actually prescribing exercise these days," said Redford. "You don't have to do it all at once and you don't have to do it for a very long, extended time. You can start with 10 minutes and work your way up to 30 minutes most days of the week."

Redford also says owning a pet can extend your life.

"Owning a pet really has been shown to have longevity benefits," said Redford. "Owning a pet can reduce your high blood pressure, it can reduce anxiety, it can also increase your odds of surviving a heart attack and now the American Heart Association has weighed in with a recommendation to own a pet if you want to reduce your risk for heart disease. Reading is also important. Reading just 30 minutes a day can add two years to your life and reading smart publications like the AARP bulletin are particularly important for keeping abreast of all the latest health news."

There are other various ways you improve your life as well -- perhaps things you may not even think of.

"About 38,000 people go to the ER every year when they trip over throw rugs so it's important to banish those rugs from your house and if you have something like a bath mat make sure it has a non-slip surface," said Redford.

For a full list of the 50 tips for living longer, click here.

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