26 Healthy Steps That Can Lead to Longevity

The latest research shows that these small changes can have a big impact on your health overtime.

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+ Cultivate a positive outlook on aging. No one wants to grow old, but evidence suggests a link between harboring a negative view and heart attack and stroke susceptibility.

+ Safeguard your hearing. Noises over 85 decibels, roughly the volume of a hair dryer, can inflict permanent damage.

+ Maintain a healthy weight. Tools like the United States Department of Agriculture's SuperTracker can help you plan, log, and analyze your eating and exercise patterns.

40s and 50s:

+ Beware of creeping weight gain. Obesity is increasingly affecting adults in middle age and beyond. As you enter midlife, you need fewer calories, your metabolism ebbs, and it's harder to drop pounds. Limit processed foods that combine sugar and fat; research suggests this combo is highly addictive.

+ Keep up with weekly strength-training sessions. Lean muscle mass starts disappearing at a rapid clip around midlife.

+ Don't skimp on calcium and vitamin D—both promote bone health. This chart, from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), outlines recommended daily intake by age and gender. Men and women ages 51 to 70 are generally advised to get 1,000 milligrams and 1,200 mg of calcium, respectively, and 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day. 

60s and up:

+ Once you turn 65, make sure to get an annual eye exam. Age-related vision problems can arise slowly, often unnoticed.

+ Take care to avoid falls—the No. 1 cause of injury-related death for the 65-plus set. Potential preventives include balance-building activities such as tai chi, and making practical changes around the house, like installing "grab bars" near the shower.

+ Maintain your fitness to prolong good health and ability to live independently. If 150 minutes of physical activity per week seems daunting, try dividing it into three 10-minute blocks, five days per week.

+ Stay up to date on recommended cancer screening tests, such as colonoscopies, and immunizations, such as flu and pneumonia shots. The majority of adults ages 50 to 65 don't.

+ Know the warning signs of top killers, such as stroke. Call 911 immediately if you notice symptoms. For stroke, they include numbness in your face and limbs, sudden difficulty seeing or speaking, dizziness, and/or a sudden severe headache.

The How to Live 100 ebook is now available. We hope it helps you on your own journey to live a long, happy, and fulfilling life.