When Queen released the song “Who wants to live forever” I’m not sure if they were being rhetorical but I’ll answer it anyway. Yes Freddie, that would be great, thanks.
Sadly unless we find ourselves inside an episode of True Blood or technology hurries itself up and provides a solution, it is probably unlikely such a thing would happen in our lifetime. With that in mind I would like to offer several ways in which we can at least add a few more years on top and repel the reaper for a bit longer.
The difference with this list is that it doesn’t include the boring and well known stuff like eating more vegetables or not leaping from tall buildings, but the more counter intuitive methods that you may not have heard of.
7 counter intuitive ways to live a longer life! And we start with…
1. Learn how to be grumpy
You may have thought that the happier and more joyful you are, the longer you will live but an Australian psychologist, Professor Joe Forgas suggests otherwise.
His theory is that while cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking. Studies were carried out on people with both types of personalities and indeed the grumpier test subjects performed better at judging the truth of urban legends and providing eye witness accounts of events.
How this relates to longevity is that people who are more analytical are less likely to be involved in dangerous/reckless situations and simply keep themselves out of harms way.
Apparently the more you moan the less gullible you are too, so if you’re a salesman, make sure you target the grinning loons.
2. Dance away Dementia
For an activity that is mostly associated with women and the clinically insane. Dancing has a very surprising health benefit.
You see those clever people at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City conducted a 21 year study of senior citizens to find out which activities helped ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s. The results of which indicated that of all the activities tested, dancing was the best at reducing the risk of these diseases.
Reading – 35% reduced risk of dementia
Bicycling and swimming – 0%
Doing crossword puzzles 4 times a week – 47%
Playing golf – 0%
Dancing – 76%
The reason why dancing seems to work best is because it’s an activity which requires split-second rapid-fire decision making. Although I can’t for the life of me work out what kind of dance moves these elderly people were being tested on.
3. Drinking alcohol reduces obesity (in women)
Careful with this one as taking the point of this entry to literally would kind of defeat the purpose altogether. The idea that alcohol is beneficial to your health is like winning the lottery for some of you but it is more likely that the act of moderate drinking links with other positive lifestyle aspects.
A study of 19,000 women who had a normal BMI indicated that those who were teetotal were 30% LESS likely to become overweight than those who drank the equivalent of one glass of wine a day. BUT the study also suggests that those who drank MORE than that (yes that’s probably you) were actually 70% less likely to become obese than teetotallers.
Sadly for you men out there (and me of course) this phenomenon doesn’t work for us and the theory is that the female body is far more efficient at metabolising alcohol as energy than we are.
4. Stop slacking and work harder
You would think that by taking it easy and coasting your way through life would be a better option than slaving away. Hell, I even make a point of telling everyone to give up the grind via this website, but a study of 1,528 gifted children followed from the early 1920s until their deaths, showed that those who worked hard and took on more responsibility actually lived longer.
We have all read that retirement is the fastest way to an early grave but the benefits of hard work seem to affect us throughout our working life as a whole. Merely the act of being productive and having control over what you are doing impacts the brain and our general wellbeing.
So quitting your job and working for yourself is a good idea after all. I knew it!
5. Develop your altruistic side and volunteer
Are you a helpful and kind person who would do anything to aid others less fortunate than yourself? At least half of you reading this probably lied just now but I’m not judging so don’t worry. Those who answered yes might be interested to find out that a study of 10,317 Wisconsin residents showed that those who had volunteered in their lives had lower mortality rates than those who didn’t.
Of the 2,384 non-volunteers, 4.3 percent were deceased four years later, compared with 1.6 percent of altruistic volunteers who had died.
Before everyone starts um, volunteering. I would like to point out that this only had an effect on those people that did so for true altruistic reasons and not those who did it for personal gain or self-satisfaction. The fakers had the same mortality rate (4 percent) as those who didn’t volunteer at all.
6. Sleep exactly 7 hours for optimum health
Does anyone know what students and bears have in common? Yes that’s right, they both tend to sleep far more than is fathomably possible. It has often been thought that more sleep equals better health but it seems that this isn’t the case at all.
Research from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, suggests that sleeping longer than 8 hours had the same effect on the brain as sleeping for less than 6 hours. Actually the potential decline in cognitive function was equivalent to ageing between 4 and 7 years.
So there you have it. Being lazy officially lowers your brain power.
Bonus – Become an Eunuch
While the previous 6 entries could help out the majority of people, this one is a bit more extreme and I’m thinking that it’s unlikely anyone will follow this advice but here goes…
Castration will help you live longer!
Yes you read that right. If you’re a male and you wish to live a lot longer years, this is the best way to go. Apparently testosterone is the main reason why the female life expectancy is slightly higher than men. A study on hundreds of Korean Eunuchs showed that they lived on average 19 years longer than uncastrated men from the same social class.
To be honest with you all, I would rather take up dancing!
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