Isn't science grand? Researchers are getting so good at determining longevity and life expectancy that they can now see how different activities effect our life span down to the minute (estimating, of course).
For example, smoking 2 cigarettes a day or eating a cheeseburger can both reduce your lifespan by 30 minutes each time you indulge! From this statistical realization has been coined the term “microlives” – half hour chunks that can be added or subtracted to our expected lifespan based on our chosen activities. By being 11 pounds overweight, having more than one alcoholic drink each day or sitting in front of a t.v. for two hours each day on average over a lifetime, all have been found to statistically decrease our lifespan.
“It’s a bit crazy; not only are you spending 15 minutes smoking a single cigarette, but you end up subtracting an additional 15 minutes off the end of your lifespan, so it’s as if you’re giving up that 15 minutes twice” says a researcher.
Some other subtractors? Eating an extra portion of red meat every day will cut down a man’s life expectancy by about 365 days.
Fortunately, there are activities the researchers found that ADD BACK time. Drinking a single alcoholic beverage each day, eating real live fresh fruits and vegetables (9 servings each day will end up adding two hours per day accumulated day after day), and exercising regularly can all add more time to your life than the amount spent doing them. They found that if you regularly do 20 minutes of exercise, you actually gain about an hour of life each time you do that exercise. Exercising for a whole hour gives you an hour and a half of extra time tacked onto the end of your life expectancy as does drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day. Even flossing adds time to your clock.
The point I think the researchers didn't mention is that not only are you adding quantity to your life, but undoubtedly also quality! Not only will we live longer, but enjoy a healthier, more vibrant, more enjoyable life up until that moment that the good Lord takes us. Like one of my teachers asked of us, “Would you prefer being sickly and diseased for the last 20 years of your life and die at 60, or do you want to die unexpectedly from a massive coronary on the 7th green of the golf course in your mid 80’s? It’s your decision.” I don’t even play golf, but I’d pick that one.
The best news is that these positive “microlife adding behaviors” can start having an impact even in older people who just now begin to adopt these healthy behaviors.
Jason’s Top 10 Healthiest Behaviors…
- Get some moderate exercise most days of the week. Yoga, Tai Qi, Bowling, AOA at the Y, etc.
- Adopt a mildly physical activity such as walking, childcare or some other physical hobby like gardening every day. Get outside.
- Eat only a small amount of meat routinely. Consider liver and other organ meats as well as deep sea ocean fish.
- Enjoy a single alcoholic drink each day. Preferably red wine.
- Avoid breads, cereals and any sweet foods or beverages for breakfast. Focus on quality proteins such as eggs and meats instead (did you know that spinach is half protein by weight?).
- Simplify your life. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Number the important things in your life one and two and begin to rid your life of all the other unimportant minutia.
- Don’t take anything personally and never make assumptions. You’re probably wrong about it anyway.
- Ya’ gotta get rid of the sugary drinks. Soda, fruit juices, sweetened iced teas, etc. They will eventually kill your pancreas organ (which is something you need). Only once in a great while.
- You might as well have plenty of house plants around. Having greenery around is known to reduce stress and blood pressure, lower the weight gaining hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, and even reduce pain and speed recovery from illnesses.
- Laugh. Fake it till you make it if you need to.