5 Ways Treating Yourself Can Help You Live Longer

Photo: Hotel Arthur/Flickr/Creative Commons

We have bad news. Those old studies that suggest drinking may help you live longer are probably bunk. In fact, drinking only seems to help elderly women. (Go figure). So, how else are us guys supposed to live it up in order to live longer? Don’t worry—there are options. We found five fun and guilt-free ways to increase your longevity, simply by treating yourself to a little R&R.

Hit the sauna
Enjoying a day at a spa can be beneficial to your health, especially if you take to the sauna. Finnish researchers studied more than 2,300 men and found that guys heading to the steam room four to seven times per week lived longer—and by a margin. Regular spa-goers experienced a 63 per cent lower risk of sudden cardiac death, 50 per cent lower risk of heart disease and an overall 40 per cent lower death rate.

Call in sick
Play hookie. According to Men’s Health, a three-year UK study found that men who went to work despite being sick faced double the heart attack risk of guys who stayed at home. However, don’t feel beholden to your bosses to wait until you’re actually sick to take a day off. Another study finds that avoiding overtime (that is, working 10 or more hours in a row) may cut your risk of cardiovascular issues by about 60 per cent.

Embrace leisurely strolls
If you can’t skip work, then at least ensure you don’t skip your allotted breaks. You can cut your risk of an early death by nearly up to a third by taking a short (yet vigorous) 20-minute walk around the block every day, according to a Cambridge University study. That seemingly small bit of exercise can boost a couch potato into the realm of “moderately active,” a lifestyle that comes with a host of benefits such as reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and possibly even cancer.

Grab a coffee
Your coffee addiction may be keeping you safe from heart problems. A Korean study recently suggested that four to five cups of Joe per day can keep clogged arteries and the associated risk of heart attacks at bay. This corroborates Brooklyn College researchers who credited four daily cuppas with decreasing their subjects’ risk of dying from heart disease by 53 per cent. Keep things black—regular sugar and fat consumption leads to adverse health effects.

Give in to dark chocolate

Studies conducted by Boston’s Tufts University and the University of L’Aquila in Italy suggest that indulging in dark chocolate—think less sugar, more cocoa content—can help decrease high blood pressure and its associated cardiovascular health risks. Subjects eating 100 grams of the dark stuff, loaded with heart-healthy flavonols, every day dropped their systolic and diastolic blood pressures by an average of 12 and nine mm Hg, respectively. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, proved less effective due to its low levels of flavonols.
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