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Live longer – unusual tips for keeping the grim reaper at bay

By Ian Hull

We’re all too familiar with the conventional advice for living longer – and the same ol’, same ol’ is being trotted out again by scientists. A new study says that sticking to the following five things can prolong your life expectancy by more than a decade. The five things?

  • Never smoke
  • Maintain a healthy body-mass index
  • Keep up moderate to vigorous exercise
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol
  • Eat a healthy diet

Any surprises? I didn’t think so. It feels predictable and a bit puritan for my tastes, but you can read more about the study here.

Offbeat tips for living longer

I much prefer these five tips for living a long life. The article here outlines 10, but these are the five that caught my eye.

  1. Work hard and be stressed

An 80-year study that began in 1921 followed a group of 1,500 children. Are you ready for this? Children who were happy-go-lucky, carefree, and had a good sense of humour lived shorter lives than those who were more serious, persistent and prudent. As adults, these people were the most involved with and committed to their jobs. Three cheers for the workaholic!

  1. Get rich

Wealth and long, healthy living are positively correlated all around the world, with poorer countries having predictably lower life expectancies. While you don’t need to be rich, money helps. There’s something to be said for playing the lotto.

  1. Learn a second language

Studies have shown that the ability to speak two or more languages significantly slows the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, both of which are fatal diseases of old age.

  1. Do good in the world

Many studies have shown that volunteering increases your life expectancy significantly, especially if you’re doing it for purely altruistic reasons.

  1. Live on a mountain

In the U.S., seven out of 10 communities with the greatest longevity are in high-country Colorado counties. And in a mountain town on the Italian island of Sardinia, as many men as women live to be 100. Seek elevation, live longer.

So, if we combine these five tips, you’d live on a mountain working hard at a job that made you rich, while learning a second language and volunteering in your spare time. See you at my 100th birthday party!

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