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Forget supplements — 3 daily habits have a much bigger impact on extending your lifespan

Two older people walking outside.
Walking is a time-tested longevity practice. The more you can fit into your schedule, the better. Moyo Studio/Getty Images
  • Experts are currently studying which supplements might improve human longevity.

  • For now, they recommend challenging your muscles regularly and eating strategically to live longer.

  • Getting enough good sleep is also critical for healthy aging and repair.

There is no single agreed-upon prescription for aging bodies, no supplement that experts contend is good for everyone to stay sharp and fit as they get older.

At a first-of-its-kind independent, academic conference in Singapore last week, leading aging researchers gathered to discuss which supplements may work best to boost longevity.

Despite the fact that the supplement industry is a booming, roughly $170 billion dollar business worldwide — with longevity supplements like NMN boosters becoming increasingly popular — there was widespread acknowledgment at the conference that we don't really know yet which supplements help people age better. Some of the first rigorous and independent, placebo-controlled trials of longevity supplements are only just getting underway.

For now, the more concrete and proven areas of longevity science remain fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle techniques, which longevity buffs are increasingly monitoring moment-to-moment using fitness trackers and rings.

Here are the three most important things you can do for healthy aging right now.

1. Do some resistance training.

weight lifting
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

"I would say move, most importantly," Dr. Andrea Maier, a leading healthy aging and supplements researcher at the National University of Singapore, said during the conference. "Physical activity is just super duper good for your life."

Take a recent study, published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers followed more than 72,000 adults with fitness trackers and found that anything more than 2,200 steps per day was associated with fewer deaths and cardiovascular issues (though cracking 9,000, if you can, is even better.)

But it's also important as we age to prioritize maintaining and improving strength.

Regular resistance training — working our muscles — can improve bone mass, making injuries less likely, and helping counter the dangerous effects of age-related muscle loss. The most effective form of strength training is usually done with weights in the gym, but you can also work on body weight exercises, or try using a resistance band.

All of this exercise sets off a flood of different chemical reactions in the body, helping cells function, and improving metabolism, among other important processes. So think about getting in some squats or lunges at least a couple of times a week, as well as pulling and pressing some weights.

2. Treat your food like a prescription.

winter minestrone
Minestrone, loaded with beans and veggies, is a great longevity stew.bonchan/Shutterstock

The other essential longevity component in our lifestyle is our diet. Eating the right portions of healthy foods, day after day, has a crucial impact on how long we live.

The longest-lived people in the world tend to prioritize beans and other legumes, whole grains like quinoa or oats, as well as fruits and vegetables. All of these plants have natural compounds inside that help our bodies continue to function well in old age.

If you're not sure where to start, may I recommend drinking some coffee, swapping some meaty meals for beans, or snacking on a handful of nuts today?

3. Find your sleep schedule.

A polar bear carves out a bed from a small iceberg before drifting off to sleep in the far north, off Norway's Svalbard archipelago.
Carve out some quality time for shut-eye. Nima Sarikhani/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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Getting enough high-quality sleep on the regular is also crucial for our longevity. Studies suggest that being able to fall and stay asleep for, ideally, about seven or eight hours a night, and then wake up feeling well-rested, is essential. (But recent research also suggests that sticking to a consistent sleep schedule may be even more important than how many hours you tuck in.)

While we slumber, memories are processed, the brain gets bathed in toxin-clearing fluids, our immune system goes to work repairing the body from regular wear and tear, and our muscles and tissues have a chance to relax and release beneficial hormones.

Many longevity researchers keep track of their own sleep patterns using a device like a smartwatch or ring, so they know when they need to slow down and get a bit more rest.

Read the original article on Business Insider