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Spring-clean your habits this year... and live longer

Most people make resolutions at New Year's - which is great if you're ushering in the year ahead while sipping on goji berry juice, doing yoga and sleeping eight hours afterwards like you always do. But if you ask us, asking your body and lifestyle to make drastic and sudden changes while hungover, overfed on festive season food and in the middle of a heatwave is not a recipe for success. Plus, statistics show that people make the same New Years resolution more than 10 times in their lives - and never once in their opinion 'stick to it'. If you've been one of those people (who hasn't?) and you left January 2018 unsuccessful in overhauling your life... why not make spring resolutions instead?
Here at MiWayLife, we’re all about long life, and a life well lived, so we think this is a great idea. Did you know that resolutions, if they’re done right, can actually help you live longer?

It’s not only about genes, although those do play a critical role, so roll up your sleeves this September and invest in future. While no one has a crystal ball to tell you how long you’ll live, you can certainly stack the odds in your favour for blowing out many more birthday candles to come:

Add 10 years: Invest in your friendships and neighbourhood

The famous Blue Zones Project praised Okinawa for their community-mindedness, with many of their elderly still visiting with friends weekly that they had known their whole lives. Okinawans have a word for it – yuimaru, which roughly means, "helping each other". Okinawa does not isolate or ignore its elderly. In a 1996 survey, less than a third of the elderly described themselves as lonely, even though many lived alone. The support may be one reason why the suicide rate in elderly Okinawan women is the lowest in East Asia, a region plagued by high suicide rates among elderly women. And according to National Geographic Italy’s citizens have the longest life expectancy of any one country one the planet, which they attributed to “more free time, close family bonds, frequent walks, and plenty of sunshine — helps the country top the life expectancy charts.”

Add two years – have a glass of wine every now and then

One of our writers did an online course recently which predicts how long you’ll live based on your habits – just for fun. She very proudly reported that she "never drinks any alcohol", expecting a big gold star, and the online course in question deducted two years off her life expectancy because she didn’t have the occasional glass of red wine.

Turns out, the French have been onto something for years. People in four original Blue Zones areas drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Studies show moderate drinkers have a lower chance of mortality and an increased chance of maintaining cognitive abilities into old age. In fact, so much so that “wine at 5” is one of the Blue Zones Power 9, the lifestyle habits shared by the longest-lived people on earth.

Add two years – eat more beans

According to the Blue Zones website, a diet high in beans and legumes was a common factor in all five of the world’s Blue Zones. And another study done found Taiwanese women who don’t eat beans live shorter lives than those who do!

Add eight years – walk more

If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’, then this one is for you. That Blue Zones project we mentioned? By far one of the biggest common elements that every ‘blue zone’ had, whether they were idyllic villages in places like Sardinia or near bustling cities in California, was that residents had active lifestyles in which residents walked just about everywhere. None of these places cited spin classes as a daily habit, and while some cycled they all walked.

Add four years – have a little faith

Believing in something is powerful – ask any sports scientist about visualisation studies and they’ll tell you. Studies have also shown that those who are plugged into a religion or faith that they passionately believe in (this also crosses over into the ‘community-minded’ benefit) helps people live longer. It doesn’t have to be a religion, either. This is what the Blue Zones Project website says: “Having a purpose in life is a proven link to living longer. What’s the most likely demographic to live past 100? Women who’ve had children after 40. ‘Embrace your ikigai,’ as they say in Japan. ‘Ikigai’ is your reason to get up every morning.”

Add 10 years - stop smoking

Ah, the big one. We know it’s hard, we know some are scared of gaining weight… But aren’t you scared of dying too soon as well? Read here about how smokers live at least ten years less than non-smokers and, also that it’s possible to reverse this. And as life insurers, we can also vouch for the fact that those who don’t smoke benefit from much lower premiums as a result of this!

MiWayLife's press office

MiWayLife understands that you want to leave a legacy for those you love. By reimagining life insurance, you can be remembered for all the right reasons.