Researchers once thought that most of the factors of how long your lived were controlled by your genes. They do control the way you look, your hair and eye color, height, and so on. That same thinking also thought that the length of your life would be determined by how long your relatives lived. Your health, and the health problems you might expect, were also believed to be determined by your genes.
More recent research has changed the thinking about how much genes actually affect the length of your life. It seems that genes are not as influential on your lifespan as initially thought. Today, it is believed that genes only affect about one-third of your longevity factors.
As a result, it means that about two-thirds of the factors are up to you and the choices you make. While your environment also affects your longevity, many other factors that you can alter can extend your life – possibly by up to 10 or more years.
Although the length of the end of the chromosomes (called telomeres) in your genes does indicate your lifespan, the regular practice of healthy living activities can keep them from shrinking as fast. As they become shorter, you often become more susceptible to diseases, and your health slowly wanes.
While research continues to find answers, it is certain that the length of your life is not determined entirely by your genes. Evidence shows that humans are now living longer than they did 100 years ago. The difference is believed to be mostly environmental – those living now have access to more food and nutrition, clean water, and easy access to better medical care.
Much research has been given to understand how longevity can be affected by factors other than your genes. Some factors have been proven to impact how long someone may live – despite their genes.
The single factor that can make the biggest impact on your lifespan is exercise. The exercise does not even have to be much. Exercising just 15 minutes a day can add about three years to your life expectancy.
Moderate exercise is known to provide a boost to strengthen your immune system. The increased heart rate causes your blood to circulate faster, bringing nutrition to all parts of your body and removing the dead material from your muscles and body.
Your bone marrow starts producing more white blood cells when you exercise. At the same time, changes occur in your antibodies and white blood cells – making them more effective to hunt and destroy harmful bacteria. Raising your body’s temperature while you exercise is also believed to be enough to help prevent or limit bacterial growth.
Other benefits of exercise are that it strengthens your heart. Your risk of diabetes is also reduced. Stress is reduced as you exercise – which is known to weaken your immune system and promote inflammation and various diseases.
Your immune system also needs to have the right amount of nutrition to stay strong. It means that your diet can also affect your longevity. Too many of the wrong kinds of food will adversely impact your ability to fight chronic diseases.
Since several factors can impact your longevity, it means that you should be resigned to doing nothing to increase longevity. Your genes do not have the final say. Making healthy choices can impact your life – enabling you to live a possible three to ten years longer than your relatives – and help you to stay healthy longer, too.