Back in the year 1900, the average life span for a U.S. citizen was around 47 years. Fast forward to 2019 and the average life expectancy is about 78 years. While the life expectancy for a population experiences ups and downs, in general, the average life span has been on the increase. With good medical care, proper nutrition, and a sound support system, you can look forward to living a long and healthy life, even into your 100s.
11. Initial Increases in Life Expectancy
One reason that life expectancy is higher now than it was in the 1900s is due to a decrease in infant mortality. Advancements in medicine and access to medical care mean that infants have a reduced risk of death due to disease or illness. With adequate prenatal care, the availability of antibiotics, and improved sanitation, the majority of babies are able to make it to adulthood. This means that in more recent years, attention has been focused on treating the chronic diseases and disorders of adulthood.
10. Danish Life Expectancy Study
A study by the University of Southern Denmark in collaboration with the Danish Aging Research Center compared the centenarian populations of Denmark and Sweden. This study gives a glimpse into factors that may contribute to longevity and a longer life expectancy. According to the Danish study, Swedish life expectancy has recently begun dwindling for the aged. Meanwhile, Denmark has experienced a drop in the mortality rate for the elderly. It appears that factors that influence life expectancy for the aging are related to their care in their later years.
9. Healthcare for the Elderly
The Danish study notes that Sweden experienced economic crises in the 1990s, which caused that country to cut back on healthcare spending. Elderly patients became less likely to be admitted to hospitals and more likely to spend time in nursing homes or with family, without intensive medical care. Meanwhile, a study by the European Journal of Ageing suggests that Denmark has taken the opposite approach by continuing to provide comprehensive medical services to its elderly population. This may contribute to the improved abilities of Danish centenarians (those aged 100 or older) to perform activities of daily living such as showering, dressing, and feeding themselves.
8. Countries with the Longest Life Expectancy
According to Infoplease, the top three countries for life expectancy are Monaco (89.52 years), Japan (84.74 years), and Singapore (84.68 years). The United States is ranked at 43 with a life expectancy of 79.68 years. Okinawa, Japan is noted for the long life expectancy of its population, with a high number of individuals achieving the age of 100 or more. Some attribute the longevity of Okinawans to a diet that focuses on vegetables, whole grains, and soy, with only minimal meat.
7. Life Expectancy by State
According to National Geographic, U.S. life expectancy by state varies from a low of 74.5 years (Mississippi) to 81.5 years (Hawaii). It probably comes as no surprise that relaxing in beautiful Hawaii can lead to a longer life span. 23 states are above the national average life expectancy age of 78.6 years, with the remaining states coming in under the average. California comes in at number two with a life expectancy of 80.9 years. Never fear, you don’t have to move to a warm climate to enjoy more extended longevity. New York, Minnesota, and New Jersey all have life expectancies of over 80 years.Related: Do These 3 Things, and You’ll Add 7 Years to Your Life
6. Exercise and Long Life
Good health care is a crucial component of increasing your life span. So is providing your body with plenty of exercise. Exercise builds up muscles, strengthens your bones, and gets your heart pumping. Harvard Health Publishing maintains that adequate physical activity will improve your cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, and burn off fat. This makes an excellent combination for heart health and long life. Exercise also enables your heart to pump oxygenated blood to your brain, making for clearer thinking and better brain health. While cardiac workouts are great for your heart, weight-bearing exercise keep your bones and muscles strong.
5. Foods for Longevity
You can improve your chances of a long life by nourishing your body with wholesome foods. Lean proteins provide your body with the building blocks for strong muscles. Fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables keep your digestive tract running smoothly. They also prevent overeating by keeping you feeling full longer. Antioxidant-rich fruits provide sweet flavor as well as vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, they fight off the ravages of free radicals in your body. Beans and legumes provide essential nutrients while maintaining proper blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
4. Life Expectancy and Relationships
Another way to beef up your life expectancy is by forging and maintaining meaningful relationships with friends and family. Scientific American reports that a strong social network can increase your survival rate by 50 percent. Unfortunately, digital or online friendships can’t take the place of time spent with friends. Putting your phone aside and making time for a coffee date with pals can boost your mood and help you live longer. So can grabbing a pal for a walk around the block or getting together a group of buddies to play cards or board games.Related: 15 Fantastic Effects of Losing 10 Pounds
3. Decrease Stress for Longevity
Taking steps to decrease stress in your life can help you to live longer. Stress not only taxes your brain, but it also can have adverse effects on your immune system. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association reported on a 20-year study that found that daily stress can increase an individual’s mortality rate. To decrease the negative effect of stress, allow yourself plenty of time to rest, relax, and recharge. Coping techniques such as muscle relaxation, positive mental imaging, and journaling can help with stress. So can using outlets such as exercise, laughter, and friendship.
2. Get Enough Sleep to Lengthen Your Life
If you need an excuse to grab some snooze time, you will be glad to know that getting enough sleep improves your life expectancy. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience reports that it is also essential to maintain regular sleep patterns to give yourself a shot at a longer life. Try to avoid staying up late on the weekends and then sleeping in. Allow your body to achieve rest at regular times each day. If you have difficulty falling asleep, set the stage by keeping your bedroom cool and dark. Avoid exercising or drinking alcohol within two hours of bedtime.
1. Happiness and a Long Life
If the thought of growing old strikes you with terror instead of excitement, take heart from studies that suggest happiness increases with age. The European Menopause Journal reports that advancing years may bring greater satisfaction. Their 20-year study found that depressive symptom scores in female subjects decreased by 0.15 for each increased year of age. Perhaps this is due to the wisdom that comes with age. The later years may bring a release from the bondage of striving and achieving that plagues the younger and middle years. Whatever the reason, it may give you an incentive to look forward to your later years.Related: Eating Like an Okinawan for Good Health and Long Life