7 shocking things that shorten your life span
Hidden killers that you don’t know about
Living longer is something we all want to do, and most of us know to avoid the obvious vices that affect our vitality. But what about those hidden killers we don’t even know about? Here are seven things that could be shortening your lifespan without you even realizing it.
No sense of humor
You know how people always say “laughter is the best medicine?” Turns out they’re telling the truth. A study carried out by Sven Svebak at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which covered 54,000 subjects, found that people with a high capacity for humor were 35 per cent more likely to be live longer than people who ranked at the bottom of the humor scale. If you are planning to go through life keeping laughter to a minimum, you’ll be missing out on health benefits such as stress reduction, immune system improvement, and increased blood flow, which could reduce your life expectancy when compared to your chuckling peers.
It’s been proven that taking regular holidays is a stress busting health booster, but it seems the way we travel to those holidays isn’t quite as healthy. In fact, flying can be downright bad for you. It’s already been proven by the Association of Flight Attendants that people who have careers in the aviation industry are more at risk of dying from cancer, and now it’s become apparent why. According to physicist Robert Parish, when you reach the average cruising altitude of 39,000 feet in a plane you are subject to 64 times more radiation than at sea level due to cosmic rays, which over time can seriously affect your wellbeing.
You know that person who you can’t stand at work? As if things weren’t bad enough already, they’re actually shortening your lifespan. Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that a person’s colleagues have a significant bearing on their wellbeing, with friendly and supportive co-workers leading to lowered stress levels and a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol. People at work who cause arguments and don’t share the workload equally have the opposite effect, causing stress and subsequently a higher risk of dying amongst their colleagues. These negative effects were most obvious in subjects between the ages of 38 and 43, so if you fall into that bracket it might be time to bury the hatchet with your work enemies.
Retiring is often the light at the end of the tunnel for stressed workers, especially for those who have saved all of their life so that they can do it earlier. Sadly, that lifetime of financial sacrifice is leading to a shorter lifespan according to research carried out by Shell Health Services. The study discovered that people who retire at 55 on average died younger than those who waited until they were 65. John Rother, chief lobbyist of the American Association of Retired Persons, explained it rather bluntly by saying “you use it or you lose it” – by retiring early, your body misses out on its daily dose of activity and you gradually become more unhealthy.
Not drinking alcohol
We’re always told to cut back on how much alcohol we drink, and rightly so – excessive alcohol consumption can severely damage your health. However, go to the opposite end of the drinking spectrum and you could be in even more trouble than heavy drinkers. A study at the University of Texas found that non-drinkers have a lower life expectancy than people who drink a moderate amount, and in some cases even lower than heavy drinkers. This is partly due to missing out on the health benefits associated with alcohol. Alcohol (in sensible amounts) helps to protect against heart disease, and decreases the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and dementia through improved neuron function in the brain.
Sleeping too much
Getting enough sleep is important when it comes to good health, so surely the more shut-eye you get the better, right? Wrong. Consistently going too far over the recommended eight hours can negatively affect your health according to a study conducted by RealAge.com. The findings showed that participants who slept for more than nine and a half hours a night suffered from a staggering 60 per cent increase in heart disease, and a higher mortality rate when compared to people who stick to the recommended amount. As well as heart disease, over-sleeping has also been linked with a whole host of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, headaches and depression.
Not having sex
Sex is good for you. Is anyone still here? For those of you who haven’t frantically run off to tell a significant other the good news, we’ll explain why. The British Medical Journal conducted a sex survey and found that men who didn’t have sex at least once a month experienced twice the mortality rate of those who were getting lucky once a week. It’s not hard to see why this is the case – having sex burns calories, lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, and much, much more. A study at Duke University also backed this up, finding that women who had enjoyable sex lives lived eight years longer than those who didn’t.