10 Habits To Help You Live Longer And Improve Your Quality Of Life

women eating a healthy meal

Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Lori Geurin

There are a variety of reasons why some people live longer than others, but there are certain behaviors that might extend your life. Some of these habits might seem like no-brainers to you, while others may be new knowledge. But if you want to live longer and experience a better quality of life, make the most of all the healthy habits that are available.

Below are ten healthy habits that will do just that for you.

Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” This is so true. However, something special about being human makes us long for a lengthy existence.

The average life expectancy of Americans rose for the first time in 4 years after reaching its peak in 2014. Many think genes and heredity play a significant role in deciding how long they’ll live. But genetics are not as influential as we once thought.

It turns out that other factors, like eating habits and lifestyle, are much more critical. This is excellent news since we can influence the quality and length of our lives by making healthier choices.

There are many ways to increase your lifespan and quality of life, but here are ten simple habits that will make a difference in how you live.

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10 Ways To Increase Your Lifespan

1. Drink Coffee Or Tea

Do you love your morning cup of joe as much as I do?  If so, you can reap some impressive benefits from drinking coffee! Coffee and tea are full of antioxidants. Drinking coffee and/or tea may help prevent chronic disease, leading to early death.

Green tea cut the risk of major diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. (1, 2. 3)

Drinking coffee is linked to a decline in several diseases. These include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, plus cancer and type 2 diabetes. (4, 5, 6)

Please remember that coffee and tea contain caffeine (unless you drink decaf).

Drinking them too late in the day may interrupt your sleep. Also, if you drink too much caffeine, you may feel jittery, so you might want to limit your intake to 4 cups of coffee a day, or even less, depending on how it makes you feel.

You may want to try this recipe for my favorite healthy coffee drink.

Related: 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Coffee

2. Don’t Overeat

You may be thinking that’s easier said than done. Especially when it comes to chocolate. But, research has shown that reducing caloric intake may increase your life expectancy. (7)

Eating fewer calories has also been linked to

  • A reduced chance of chronic disease
  • Lower body weight
  • Healthy change in body composition (8, 9)

Some of Japan’s oldest (and apparently, healthiest) people eat until they feel about 80% full, stopping. (10)

Starving yourself is not the goal here. Neither is it recommended. So what can you do to lower your caloric intake and prevent overeating?

  • Eat smaller servings
  • Eat on a smaller plate
  • If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water before reaching for a snack
  • Chew slowly for a more extended period of time before swallowing each bite
  • Leave some food on your plate
  • Or my favorite – practice intermittent fasting

Check out this video about fasting and aging on YouTube.

Related: Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting For Beginners

3. Move Your Body

Studies have shown the harmful effects of being a couch potato and not getting enough exercise. According to Health.com, a 2010 study linked watching too much TV to an early death:

The study followed 8,800 adults with no history of heart disease for more than six years. Compared to those who watched less than two hours of TV per day, people who watched four hours or more were 80% more likely to die from heart disease and 46% more likely to die from any cause. All told, 284 people died during the study.



Too Much Sitting Is Not Healthy

Another study showed a link between sitting too much and premature death. (11) I recently purchased an adjustable standing desk, similar to this one, to help offset the negative impact of sitting in front of a computer all day.

Exercise is crucial to living a long and healthy life. (12) You might even be able to increase your lifespan by exercising as little as 15 minutes a day. (13)

And best of all, the more you exercise and stay active, the more you reap the benefits. (14) Exercising 150 minutes or more a week has the most benefits. But any time you move is good for your health and can help you live longer.

If you’re just starting a fitness plan, focus on gradually increasing your time working out. For example, the first week, you could set a goal of walking 15 minutes (or 5 or 10 minutes, whatever works for you), 3-5 days a week.

Then the following week, increase your walking to 20 minutes a day. Continue increasing your goal weekly until you walk 30 minutes daily, five days a week. By then, you’ve reached your 150 minutes a week of exercise!

(You may want to check out these 50 Unique Ways To Share Fun Facts About Yourself and these 30 Fun, Interesting And Quirky Things To Tell People About Yourself.)

Learn more about the excellent benefits of walking!

For fun, you might want to try this stand and sit test, which can predict longevity. Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart. My husband and I tried it out. We were both laughing! Let me know how it goes!

Related: Fitness Faux Pas – Identified & Rectified

how to live longer / woman running
Making time for exercise can improve longevity and quality of life.

This next one you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating…

4. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is linked to decreased lifespan. A study of women in the UK showed that smokers may lose ten years of their lifespan and are much more likely to die prematurely. (15)

The good news is that it’s never too late to quit.

Here are some resources to help people quit smoking.

You may also enjoy these 50 Ways To Be Kind To Others: Simple And Free

5. Include Spices In Your Diet

Consuming spices such as turmeric and cinnamon can help you live longer. Turmeric has a bright yellow chemical compound called curcumin. It’s a member of the ginger family.

Curcumin has many antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative stress. (16) Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory that fights against cardiovascular, pulmonary, and autoimmune diseases.  (17)

I take this turmeric curcumin supplement daily to help control pain. It’s been just as effective as the prescription pain medicines I was taking before for chronic Lyme and stopped taking since I learned about turmeric.

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and smells great! It’s anti-inflammatory and lowers blood sugar. Here’s a recipe for Cinnamon Tea you may want to try. And these are only a few examples of the healthful spices available to us.

Related: 13 Curcumin And Turmeric Benefits: An Impressive Healing Spice

6. Manage Stress

Reducing stress and anxiety are essential skills to learn for living longer.

Everyone has stress. People feel different types of stress and anxiety in different amounts.

The key is learning skills to deal with stress, so it doesn’t negatively affect your health. Developing a positive outlook and practicing gratitude are helpful tools in this process.

Related: 20 Easy Ways To Express Gratitude

You may want to check out these tips for managing stress.

Studies show that laughter and a positive outlook are good for you and may add years to your life. (18) So grab your funniest friend and head to the movies to watch that comedy you’ve wanted to see! Or, if you’re stuck in the house, call them up and have a chat.

Related: 5 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax

7. Sleep Well

When you’re sleeping, your body works hard to heal and rejuvenate. Developing a regular sleep routine is essential to your health. Relaxing habits such as taking a warm bath and reading a book can help you fall asleep faster.

lorigeurin.com/health-benefits-of-sleep/(opens in a new tab)

It’s also essential to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This can be challenging if you have small children or work irregular hours. But, it’s a good idea to keep your sleeping schedule as regular as possible.

So simply do your best within your unique circumstances, and don’t stress about it.

It’s recommended for adults to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleeping much more or less can shorten your life expectancy. (19)

RELATED: Relaxing Sleep Music To Help You Sleep Better Tonight

Keep in mind that we all go through seasons of life when we get more or less sleep. Many times this cannot be helped. Try not to stress if you’re in one of those times now.

Just ride it out. It’ll pass soon enough, and you’ll be back to catching’ those zzz’s. And if not, check out the article below for some sound sleep advice.

Related: 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight

Okay, I know you’re not a squirrel, but…

8. Eat Nuts

Amazingly, eating nuts might add a few years to your life!

Nuts contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein. One study showed that people who ate at least three servings of nuts per week lowered their risk of premature death by 39%. (20)

Also, eating nuts has a therapeutic effect on inflammation, heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. (21)

Here are some healthy nut recipes you may want to try.

What did the nut say when it was chasing the other nut?

I’m a cashew!

how to live longer / fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants.

9. Eat Your Fruits And Veggies

Filling your diet with many plant foods is a healthy choice.

Several studies have connected a longer lifespan with eating a Mediterranean diet. This way of eating cuts down on cancer and cardiovascular disease. (22, 23)

What Foods Help You Live Longer?

Many foods have been shown to help you live longer. Some of the most notable include nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Nuts contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein.

Also, eating nuts has a therapeutic effect on inflammation, heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes.

Fruits are also a good source of antioxidants and other nutrients. Studies have shown that people who eat more fruit have a longer lifespan.

One way to ensure you’re getting enough fruit is to try incorporating a variety of fruits into your diet.

Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet and are linked to a longer lifespan.

You can get the most benefit from vegetables by eating a variety of them.

There are many ways to get your fill of fruits and veggies daily.

  • Add them to smoothies
  • Eat veggies raw with hummus or your favorite dip
  • Roast vegetables in the oven with seasoning
  • Make fruit kabobs
  • Make a fruit and yogurt parfait
  • Ferment your veggies to get a healthy dose of probiotics
  • Stir-fry
  • Make a big salad

Related: Nutrition For Longevity Review: Farm Fresh Meals

Another great way to ensure you get the best nutrition is by taking a high-quality multivitamin.

and last but certainly not least…

10. Do Things That Make You Happy

We may not be able to control bad things that happen in life. But, we can control how we respond to challenging situations.

We can mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. But, it’s been my experience that this never helps. Plus, choosing to live life with joy and gratitude is contagious! (Here are 20 easy ways to express gratitude.)

I’m not saying you need to be Pollyanna. But a little happiness never hurt anyone, right!?

If you frame your thoughts positively and find gratitude, even in the most challenging times, you may be surprised by the results. When we take the time to look up from our problems, we see others who need support and encouragement. And this widens our circle of influence and love. And gives us more opportunities to share what we’re learning on life’s journey.

It’s a beautiful circle of life, isn’t it?

When we’re intentional about keeping a positive mindset, it can add years to our life. One study found a correlation between feelings of happiness and increased longevity. (24)

One of my favorite verses that gives me perspective when I need it the most is

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

This verse reminds me that I can lean on Him even when I don’t feel joyous or have energy. His joy fills me and makes me stronger.

Do you have a favorite verse, song, or mantra that gives you joy in life? Or helps you focus and gives your life clarity and meaning?

Related: 6 Unexpected Benefits Of Smiling: Enhance Your Face Value

Books About Longevity

I’ve read several books over the years about how to increase your lifespan and narrowed my favorites down to these:

1. The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

This book comes with a lifestyle method that blends personal experience with longevity research to inspire lasting behavioral change and add years to your life.

2. Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD

The Eat To Live 2011 revised edition includes updated scientific research that supports Dr. Fuhrman’s plan and new information about food addiction. Plus, new recipes, FAQs, and meal plans.

If you enjoyed these longevity habits to help you live longer, you’ll want to check out:

3. The Okinawa Program by Bradley Willcox, DDS, and Craig A. Willcox, PhD

Dr. Willcox spent a lot of time studying the Okinawans who live on one of the smallest islands in Japan but have a lower rate of heart disease than anywhere else in the world. They also live longer and have a lower rate of dementia than their Japanese counterparts.

4. The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner

This book is written similarly to The Blue Zones but dives into more detail about how you can incorporate the principles into your life.

5. Prescription For Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

This book is a comprehensive encyclopedia of dietary advice. It’s been around for over 20 years, and the revised version came out in 2009.

Conclusion – Best Habits for Longevity

Genetics plays a small role in life expectancy. But, you can develop healthy habits that will lower your disease risk and help you live longer. Take time to move your body, reduce stress, sleep well, and eat real food. These natural daily practices can make a big difference in your overall health and wellness.

I hope these tips help you live a longer and healthier life! xx, Lori

Printable Habit Tracker

Check out our printable Habit Tracker to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals.

printable habit tracker
Habit Tracker Printable

What habits do you practice that have improved your quality of life?

This is an updated version of the original blog post.

20 thoughts on “10 Habits To Help You Live Longer And Improve Your Quality Of Life”

    1. I hear you, Marina, and I think it’s a tough one for many of us. Finding a good balance with all the demands of life can definitely be a challenge. It sounds like you’re doing great with the other 9. That’s awesome! 🙂

  1. These are great tips! Some of them I was already doing but had no idea it helped with longevity of life…like adding different spices to my diet! I’m going to have to look more into that for my family!

  2. I’m drinking my morning coffee right now! 🙂 Definitely try to incorporate all of these, although a good night’s sleep is still something I am working on. And trying to incorporate more turmeric and cinnamon into my daily meals as well.

    1. Hey there, Marlynn, It sounds like you’re making so many healthy choices – that’s awesome! I’m with you on the sleep thing…been working on it for years.

      I recently discovered (and am loving) turmeric tea. Have you tried it?

  3. Well, I’m doing the coffee part well! This post is full of so much helpful information. One of the most important points is doing things that make you happy.

    1. I’m happy you’re enjoying your coffee, Leslie! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t exist without it. 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words! It’s easy for me to forget (or even feel guilty about) taking time to do things I love. But now that I know what the research says, I HAVE to do it, right?! I’ve found that slowing down to enjoy all the good things in life and practicing gratitude is definitely a better way to live. Thanks!

  4. I think I got most of these covered except for the stress and sleep. So many things to do, but do little time. One of the things I started doing recently is setting the “go to bed” alarm.

    1. I hear you, Margaret! It’s interesting how stress and sleep can be so related too (speaking from personal experience). I’ll admit sleep has been an ongoing struggle for me ever since I got Lyme. I’m a night owl by nature but then my body isn’t ready to wake up until later than our families busy schedule demands.

      I have an alarm set for 9:30 on my Fitbit to tell me to got to sleep each night. Unfortunately, I usually tune it out. I’m glad to know someone else does this (but actually listens to it). Thanks for sharing your experience and may you have more time, less stress and more sleep! X, Lori

  5. I love these! Especially the coffee one! I am definitely a coffee drinker. One I am lacking in is exercise. I hate it so much but I know I g otta do it anyway!

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