5 Surprising Indicators of Longevity

5 Surprising Indicators of Longevity

Advice from centenarians on how and why they live so long often boils down to a few key variables: don’t stress, have fun, be curious, and maintain your relationships with family and friends, according to one round up from the Huffington Post. Other popular pieces of advice: never act your age, enjoy yourself, find healthy activities you love and savor little things (such as daily dark chocolate).

Beyond these generalities, there are also a few specific attributes or behaviors that have been linked to longevity. The following characteristics are from observational studies, meaning there’s no cause-and-effect relationship, but that individuals who express these qualities lived longer than their peers who did not. The good news — for those of us desiring to live our longest, healthiest lives — is that most of these factors are modifiable; they can be improved over time, no matter your age. Learn more below.

Behaviors Linked to Longevity

Grip Strength

woman man holding hands watch longevity

Photo Credit: Hannah Morgan

One specific element of senior fitness that appears to matter for long living is whether you have a firm handshake. A commanding grip — meaning an easier time opening jars, a firmer grasp while carrying items — could signal greater total muscle strength, lean muscle mass and a healthy body composition, according to one 2012 study that examined individuals with strong longevity-linked genes. It could also mean a lower risk for some diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

Exactly why hand strength appears to matter independently from other factors isn’t entirely understood. It could be that seniors with weaker grips could contain some kind of underlying disease, a 2015 paper that correlated grip strength with longevity found. What’s clear for now is that strength-building exercises throughout your life might help build this particular factor of resilience.

No-Hands Standing

One classic measure of senior fitness is the “chair test,” in which participants are asked to stand from a chair without using their hands. A few years ago, scientists writing in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology devised a new variation on this exam: asking seniors to sit down on the floor without using their hands, arms or knees to slow their descent, and then to stand back up hands-free, Prevention explained. This measure of musculoskeletal fitness was correlated with a lower risk of death from any cause over the follow-up period of the study.

“It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival,” study author Claudio Gil Soares de Araújo, a professor at Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro, said, “but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, and coordination also has a favorable influence on life expectancy.”

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Walking Speed

feet walking yellow shoes painted nails flowers

One of the first signs of aging for many individuals is a slower gait. Those who maintain the brisk pace of their youth longer into life might fare better, studies have found. However, the health blog Mark’s Daily Apple pointed out, the largest study on this to date was on natural walking speed only, so you might not be able to speed walk your way to a longer life.

Muscle Mass

In 2014, the results of a long-term study on more than 3,600 seniors were announced, finding that muscle mass is a better predictor of longevity than BMI (or your height-to-weight ratio). Building muscle mass is so important that even some people opted to look into something like Sarms usa in the hopes of finding ways to do this effectively. This may not be for everyone, but it is worth checking out, especially as muscle mass can play a part in longevity. If you are interested in finding out more about SARMs, you can view this list of my trusted SARMs companies to get you started.

The more muscle you have, the better you might be able to withstand falls and other threats to robust aging, the thinking goes. Although it’s still a correlation, not cause and effect, study author Preethi Srikanthan, of U.C.L.A., told Scientific American this recommendation: “Get up and start moving. Focus on trying to maintain the maximum amount of resistance training that you can, and stop worrying so much about dropping calories.”

Neuroses

As stated above, some who live to 100+ profess a “don’t worry, be happy” attitude. But a groundbreaking 80-year study on one group of individuals, which tracked study participants from childhood to death, found that a little bit of worrying can be helpful. Those who are “conscientious” enough to do things such as exercise, eat healthy food, go to the doctor, take medical recommendations to heart and actively manage stress fare better than those with a 100 percent “anything goes” outlook, The New York Times reported.

TELL US: What do you think? Are you implementing any of these right now?

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