8 Unexpected Tips for Living Longer ...

I think everyone is interested in tips for living longer, but this list is a little different. I'm sure you read tips like these every day, and hear about eating right and never smoking or, conversely, eating lots of bacon and chewing tobacco (I have 80 year old relatives who still swear by these tricks). However, I was talking to my mother-in-law to-be recently. She's a former nurse, a massage therapist, and a naturopath. In her office, she sees many, many older people of both genders and always asks them how they've come to live such long, full lives. Some of the answers are what you'd expect but, as you'll see, many of these tips for living longer are surprising and inspiring. They all come from real people between the ages of 70 and 80. Take a look – and get inspired!

1. Own a Pet

This is by far one of the most popular tips for living longer my mother-in-law has heard. Whether you rescue a shelter dog, get a cat, or have a bird, having a pet keeps you young. You have something that cares for you, depends on you, and gives you supreme loyalty. Plus, with dogs or cats (or even rabbits and ferrets, really), you can take your pet for a walk every day. That keeps you active, promotes exercise, and gives you the chance to get to know other people in your neighborhood.

2. Learn an Instrument

As you'll see, learning things is very important if you want to live longer and feel great while you're doing it. It's all about keeping your mind active, but there are specific things that help you do that. For instance, you're never too old to learn an instrument. One of my MIL's clients played the harp and advocated learning an instrument all the time. Whether it's the piano, the French horn, or an electric guitar, take up the hobby! Engage your mind!

3. Get Massages

Clearly, all of the people who offered these tips visited a massage therapist – and loved it! Taking the time out to pamper your body, to let someone touch it with love, good will, and healing – it's so essential. If you're not a fan of massages, that's okay too. Visit the spa and indulge in the hot tub. Get manicures or pedicures. Have your partner rub your feet. Just be nice to your body, that's the main point here. Thank it in any way you can for carrying you through.

4. Exercise Every Day

Regular exercise is important at any age but it's especially crucial as you get older. It's not just about staying physically active, although that's a huge selling point, of course. If you don't stay active, however, then you'll stay sedentary. That's the surest, fastest way to start sliding or fading. Staying still is no good. Even it's hard to move around or be ambulatory, there are still things you can do to keep fit and active.

5. Drink Wine

By now, everyone knows that a glass of wine a day is good for you, right? However, many of the people my mother-in-law talks to repeat this tip. Red wine is fantastic for your heart but it has many other benefits as well. It helps relax you, it can enhance the taste of your food, and those tannins are just excellent.

6. Surround Yourself with Friends

As you get older, it's especially vital that you don't feel lonely. Naturally, you want to spend time with your family whenever possible, but friends are something else entirely. Whether you're still friends with your BFF from high school or if you make an entirely new group of buddies, spend time with them, talk to them, share with them. Keep each other company, and remind each other that you're still absolutely thriving.

7. Stand by Your Choices

It's often said that one of the benefits of age is earning the ability to say whatever you want. I don't know if that's entirely true, but I do know that you should always stand by your choices, be yourself, and do what feels right to you. Don't hold back. If, at 75, you're ready to come out of the closet, do it. If your family wants you to move and you're happy where you are, stick to your guns. If you don't like one thing and love something else, share that. Follow your dreams, stand up for what you want, and be strong. You really have earned it.

8. Keep Learning New Things

I told you I'd be coming back to this! You can't stop learning. As long as you're learning new things, you're fully engaged, your mind is active and sharp, and you're still bettering yourself. Whether you decide to learn about physics at 62 or French at 81, go for it. Learn everything you can, no matter how big or small it is.

When you look at it this way, living a long, full life seems so easy! Naturally you have to take care of yourself in terms of eating right, getting checkups, and things of that nature, but the one thing we should all take away from these tips is that you have to keep living your life, always. If you feel old, you'll be old; if you live your life the way you want, then age is just a number. Have you ever asked an older friend how they do it or do you have some tips of your own?

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