The path to a long & happy life

Want to live to 99? The little choices you make today could unlock not just a long life but a long life you'll choose to live.

Rule #1 – Be a picky eater

Many Singaporeans spend years battling lifestyle-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These ailments can affect their life quality and even subtract years. The common culprit: years of poor eating habits. Even if you come from a long line of octogenarians, you’ll need to watch your diet and cut down your alcohol intake to age well. Consume a diet rich in wholegrains and immunity-boosting vegetables and fruits. And swap processed foods for more home cooking to better control your intake of salt, sugar, fat and preservatives. Too busy to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients in the right amounts? Take a daily multivitamin. And get adequate calcium and vitamin D so your bones will be less prone to fractures from falls.

Rule #2 – Pop the “om” pill

Ever wonder why world leaders seem to go grey faster than the rest of us? That’s because stress accelerates ageing. And as unlikely as it seems, meditation – where you focus your emotions, thoughts and sensations on a particular thought, object or activity – could help counter this. Some studies have shown it can promote the health of telomere, the protective ends of chromosome that are associated with longevity. So getting your daily dose of “om” could go a long way towards slowing ageing and improving your life in general. But if sitting on the floor in a quiet room for 20 minutes isn’t your thing, you can practice mindfulness meditation during your everyday routines, such as teeth brushing or morning tai chi, while playing golf or even when praying.

Rule #3 – Laugh a lot

If you’re chuckling about this one, don’t stop! It seems there’s more truth in the old adage “laughter is the best medicine” than you thought. Aside from exercising 20-odd facial muscles, laughter has been found to trigger the release of substances in the brain, called endorphins, that help you tolerate pain better. It can also lower levels of stress as well as inflammation, which is commonly associated with diseases like arthritis and cancer as well as ageing-associated chronic illnesses that can lead to disability. Conversely, excessive stress and depression during an illness could prolong symptoms and delay recovery. And if you’re concerned about your youthful looks fading with age, you’ll be pleased to know that smiling alone lifts years off the face. So, go on and watch Deadpool again, even if it’s your 101th time! LOL

Rule #4 – Keep on movin’!

Growing old doesn’t automatically mean being frail, and having to put up with nagging aches and pains. On the contrary, a lifetime of regular exercise can delay age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. Some researchers have also found that old folk who had committed to an active lifestyle in their youth tended to have immune systems that behaved like that of younger people. So find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your routine. Better yet, do it with someone who shares the same interest (regular social contact with friends and family is another important ingredient for a long and happy life). Whether you choose the flamenco, rowing, cycling or fencing, regular activity will allow your body to age well so you can look forward to independence and productivity right through your golden years.

Rule #5 – Take cover

While long life is undoubtedly a gift, it’s natural to worry about becoming a “burden” to your children during your advanced years, especially when it comes to finances. Being prudent and planning for the old age you want from now can help. It’ll give you the confidence to step into your golden years without having to rely heavily on others, even if setbacks occur in life. A term insurance plan like Aviva’s MyProtector-Legacy provides financial cushioning with a lump sum payout should you face death or terminal illness before turning 99. And if you live past 99, you’ll still receive your payout. This way, you’ll not only avoid adding to your loved ones’ financial stress but you’ll be able to leave a meaningful legacy no matter what happens.

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