5 Simple Daily Habits to Increase Longevity & Lifespan

 Photo Cred: Charles Du 

Photo Cred: Charles Du 

It is safe to say most of us want to live a disease free life and age with grace and vitality. The challenge lies within the ever growing amount of toxins and pollutants we are exposed to everyday. Still, it is most definitely possible. As we get older, increasing longevity may become more of a priority, but there are five no fuss daily habits you can do at any age to increase life-span, overall happiness and ward off disease.  If you find yourself lacking energy and get fatigued often, I challenge you to begin to incorporate these daily longevity habits and witness your mind and body respond for the better. 

 1.) Get outside and soak in some Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually a hormone and is known as the “Sunshine” vitamin.  There is good reason for this in that we only get about 10% of it from food and our body produces the rest of it through sunlight. Besides soaking in a vital hormone, the benefits of getting outdoors in nature on a daily basis are countless. Statistics show over 85% of the US population is vitamin D deficient (myself included). I highly recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked and if supplementation is needed. Just as too little is no bueno, so is too much.  Your doctor can do this or you can do it on your own through Direct Labs or Wellness FX

Benefits of vitamin D:

  • Promotes bone growth & bone health
  • Improved resistance against certain diseases
  • Boosts immune system
  • Boosts energy 
  • Can regulate mood and depression
  • Aides in weight loss
  • Reduces risk of diabetes
  • Reduces inflammation

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to:

  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Sleep disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Fatigue
  • Weakened immune system
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle weakness

    Despite living in sunny South East Asia, I was very low in Vitamin D due to circumstances out of my control. It is important to note many factors can cause a deficiency or affect your ability to get enough vitamin D and you may require supplementation. Some of these factors can include: Living in polluted cities, kidney or liver disease, getting off birth control pill, heart disease and using sunscreen.  

    There is some debate by experts on how much vitamin D you need daily. The conservative side leans towards 800 IU - 1000 IU while functional medicine leans towards 4000 IU per day.  To find out how much you receive on a daily basis you can download some helpful apps that will notify you the best times to go outside when sun rays are at their best depending on where you live and track how much you vitamin D you are consuming. 
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2.) Enjoy your morning cup of Joe 

This one is my favorite and it actually doesn’t stunt your growth! You can enjoy your morning cup of coffee even more now that new scientific research has officially pro-claimed the short and long-term health benefits of drinking coffee. These benefits are best obtained from 1 - 3 cups maximum daily. Keep in mind, this is black coffee sans sugar and cream and if you suffer from anxiety it's best to skip a caffeine fix.

Benefits of drinking coffee:

3.)  Pet an animal...even a cat 

Animal friendly people reap some pretty amazing health benefits, especially if you happen to own a dog...or a cat ;) Studies show some of these benefits include adding 10 years to your life. For those that do not own a furry being, be sure to pet a friendly pup on the street when you can or better yet, volunteer at a local animal shelter where many allow you to walk and play with the rescue animals. There is a reason animals are used in therapy. They are brought to hospitals to boost mood and most recently, airports such as the Denver Airport walk around with dogs for passengers to pet and converse with during long lay overs to alleviate stress and pass the time.   Go Denver!

Benefits of owning a pet:

4.) Take Moments in Social Interaction 

It turns out that being social can really add longevity to your life and provide numerous benefits to both your physical and mental well-being. It seems taking time out of our hectic and busy schedules to interact with family and friends is more important than ever. Although studies show social media interaction with friends can be beneficial in some ways, you can avoid the down sides by sharing and connecting face-to-face with others when possible. It seems like a rare commodity, but by doing so, you will reap countless benefits and your health will thank you. 

Benefits of being a social or semi-social butterfly:

  • Increased mental health 
  • Lower stress levels (reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones)
  • Improved immunity
  • Live longer  ( *studies show twice as longer compared to those with fewer social ties) 
  • May lower your risk of dementia as you age 
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence 

Luckily there are countless ways to socially interact at any age and technology has made this even easier. Some great social activities can include catching up with a friend on the phone, face-time or Skype, visiting family, joining a gym, going out for dinners, seeing a movie, volunteer work, taking a new class, starting your own class, taking a walk with a friend, trivia night at a bar and making new friends, saying "hi" to a stranger...the list is endless. 

5.) Take moments in solitude 

Equally important as taking moments in social interaction is taking those rare and under-rated moments of solitude by choice to connect with noone but yourself. This is even more rare then above as we are "pinged" nearly every moment with social media notifications or work e-mails and in a way constantly connected to someone. When you relish in alone time and bury yourself in something you love to do, it provides a beautiful balance during those moments of social interactions.  

Benefits of moments in solitude:

  • Increased creativity
  • Increased empathy & emotional intelligence 
  • You learn to trust yourself  ( *Finding moments of solitude helps you to think clearly and put things in perspective) 
  • You can do the things you love 
  • you are more productive 
  • Increases independence 

We all want to live a long, happy and healthy life. Ultimately, diet plays a huge role and often less than genetics, but there are countless daily habits you can add into your life to perhaps add a few more years and feel happier and healthier. These five daily habits are simple and easy to build into your lifestyle so start your day with a cup of joe, take a walk in the sunshine with a friend, pet that precious pup walking by and end your your day by taking 30 minutes alone and getting lost in a good book.