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A 5-Step Plan to Unlocking a Healthy, Long Life

Published | 4 min read

A high-paced lifestyle puts us at risk of developing various health conditions. From eating less to walking more, there are five things we can do to achieve long life.

A middle-aged mother and her daughter embracing and smiling

When we send someone our well wishes, we often wish them a long, healthy life filled with joy. This simple wish delivers our sincere hope for our cherished ones to make the most out of their lives. A long life allows them the chance to accomplish more things and create meaningful experiences. 

Data according to the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the average life expectancy of a Malaysian male is 72.6 years and for a female, 77.1. With an overall score of 80, a long life is not something that’s merely wished for; it’s earned by keeping the body and mind fit. Read on to learn of the five ways to achieve a long, healthy life.

5 Ways for a Long, Healthy Life 

Doing these five things can help not only extend your life but also make it more fulfilling: 

1. Eat well

An elderly couple happily preparing a bowl of salad together
Eating a balanced diet can help in giving you a long life.

First and foremost, the most obvious way to live longer is to stay healthy, and the surest approach is to eat a balanced diet. 

A popular diet guideline, the Mediterranean diet is hailed as one of the healthiest and most balanced. It’s said that a lot of people take this diet because it can increase life expectancy.

The Mediterranean diet consists of mostly plant-based ingredients, but this diet allows for meat. It also includes natural foods, flavourful produce, healthy fats and whole grains. Altogether, this balanced combination can lower the risk of or manage cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Switching to a Mediterranean diet may be challenging. But there’s a way to modify your current eating habits and make them healthier. Add more fruits and vegetables to your meal plan. Opt for low-fat and low-sodium foods to promote cardiovascular health. If you want to add a natural supplement to your diet, you can try consuming bird’s nest, which promotes immunity

2. Eat less 

One reason the Mediterranean diet has become popular is that it can be enjoyable and isn’t restricting. But it doesn’t mean that you should let yourself go. You still need to control your food intake by chewing food carefully and stopping eating when you’re about three-quarters full. 

A 2020 study published in the journal Cell has found a scientific connection between eating less and living longer. Researchers discovered that calorie restriction can reduce inflammation. The study concluded that in addition to decreased inflammation, eating less is associated with better immunity, lowered odds of ageing-related diseases and increased chances of living longer. 

3. Hit the road

A young businessman walking up the stairs
Walk your way towards a long and healthy life.

Walking is perhaps the easiest exercise, but many people tend to avoid it. For instance, we prefer to ride a lift instead of taking the stairs or choose to hop in a car instead of walking. In fact, like other kinds of exercise, walking has various health benefits, such as boosting lung fitness, preventing heart diseases, strengthening bones, improving balance and getting rid of body fat. Moreover, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), walking is deemed important to help digestion.

New research has further proved that walking can prolong life. Not just any kind of walking, but a brisk walk. A 2022 study by the Diabetes Research Center, University of Leicester showed that people who walk faster live longer. Scientists found that the quicker a person’s walking pace, the longer their telomeres. Located at the ends of the chromosomes, telomeres protect genes from the effects of ageing. It is recommended to walk fast for an hour instead of pacing slowly for one and a half hours. 

4. Find your purpose 

Believe it or not, finding what we’re meant to do in life can extend our lifespans. A 2019 study conducted on US adults over the age of 50 revealed that there is a significant association between life purpose and lower mortality. By asking participants to fill out a questionnaire, the five-year study has provided evidence that a strong sense of purpose impacts longevity. 

5. Keep your friends close 

There’s a reason why self-care tips we often see on the Internet would advise us to steer clear of a toxic situation or people. Multiple studies over the years have proven that having supportive friends does indeed add years to our life.

One aspect of the studies explored the link between social support with the systems of the human body. Experts have examined that the autonomic nervous system, the neuroendocrine system and the immune system are sensitive to environmental social cues. As a result, being in a safe environment where humans lower their defences can contribute to a reduction in the risk of disease and mortality.

Attaining a long life doesn’t have to be so complicated. It’s true though, that finding a life purpose may be difficult for some. Searching for your life’s meaning may take a while, so in the meantime, remember to eat enough healthy foods and walk more with your friends. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “5 Ways to Longer Life”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.

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