Whilst the search goes on to find new “scientific” ways of living better for longer, there are two very simple things that you can do today to achieve exactly this. And there are two bonuses.
Last year Australian research showed, that there was a direct correlation between time spent being sedentary, and risk of dying. In fact there was a 10% increased risk of death for every hour beyond two per day that you spent continuously sitting down.
Just in case we needed more scientific proof, an American study of 120,000 people over 14 years showed that women who sat for six hours per day had a 37% higher risk of death than those who spent less than three hours a day sitting. For men the difference was 17%.
For those who did no exercise the death risk rates were increased by 94% for women and 48% for men.
Doing even a little exercise helped reduce this risk but prolonged periods of sitting is an issue in itself which is not totally offset by exercise even though exercise makes a big difference as seen above.
Yet the answer here is very simple. Just get up out of your chair on a regular basis and move around. Consider standing at your desk or standing whilst you read the paper. The simple act of standing instead of sitting causes a whole set of stabilizer muscles to be active which does not happen whilst you are sitting.
The simple act of standing instead of sitting for part of the day or at least getting up from your desk to stand, stretch or walk significantly impacts on health.
The other long established way to live longer is to eat less. Caloric restriction, time and again has been shown to correlate with reducing disease of all forms and with longer life in animals and humans. This is not about going hungry. It is as simple as eating (as the Japanese recommend) to 80% and leaving the table feeling that you could eat more.
This is helped by eating slowly, which allows the brain to keep up with the stomach. People who eat slowly are at least 30% less likely to be obese than those who eat quickly and 50% less likely than those who eat quickly till full.
So living longer and being healthier is as simple as eating a bit less and moving a bit more.
Now for the two bonuses. Firstly losing body fat and getting to a good weight helps the immune system so you will get sick less often. The second bonus is that being unhealthy and overweight affects your sex life. French (who else) researchers found that for both men and women who are overweight have less sex and more sexual problems than those of healthy weight.
So if living longer, and avoiding diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes does not provide motivation, maybe the prospect of a better sex life will.