January 15, 2024

12 Longevity Hacks for Your Best Year Yet

photo of Perry Santanachote

Written By

Perry Santanachote

photo of Tanya Zucco, PA-C

Medically Reviewed By

Tanya Zucco, PA-C

Lifeforce Physician Assistant

12 Longevity Hacks for Your Best Year Yet

Longevity is more than crossing your fingers and hoping for good genes. More and more scientific research is shedding light on key factors contributing to living a longer and healthier life. And surprise, surprise: Longevity is not solely determined by genetics. Simple, yet powerful, lifestyle choices and everyday habits — such as adopting a well-balanced diet, getting regular physical exercise, and keeping stress in check — play a pivotal role in determining your healthspan

So what better time than the new year to get proactive? We tapped Lifeforce experts, including health coaches and clinicians, to share their top evidence-based, practical, and actionable tips. From diet and exercise to stress management and social connections, these easy-to-implement shifts can make a significant difference in your longevity and overall well-being. Depending on where you are in your health journey, dive into the areas that align with your goals, or take it slow by trying one new hack a month throughout the year. Remember: small, consistent changes to your wellness routine are often the secret to unlocking a longer and healthier life.⁣

12 Expert-Backed Longevity Hacks

Syncing diet, exercise, and mindset to your cycle

1. Sync your diet, exercise, and mindset to your menstrual cycle.

Why it works: A recent study of 79,505 participants shows that irregular menstrual cycles are associated with a greater risk of premature mortality. Research has also found that premature menopause can shorten lifespan. But lifestyle and diet can help determine the age you reach menopause, and the longer you can hold off menopause, the longer you safeguard your heart from associated cardiovascular disease

⁣Lifeforce Health Coach and Hormone Health Specialist Kelly Lynch says that syncing your nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle to your monthly cycle helps balance your hormones and lets you tap into a few social and productivity superpowers that each phase offers.

Try it at home:⁣ ⁣Lynch breaks down how to eat and move during the four phases of your menstrual cycle: WATCH HERE. The easiest way to know which phase you’re in is to track your cycle. (We love Lively and Femm apps).

Level up your strength training routine

2. Level up your strength training routine. 

Why it works: Strength training is critical for longevity because of the value muscle brings as we age,” says Vinnie Galizio, a Lifeforce Health Coach and Certified Personal Trainer. “It allows us to move freely and without assistance, minimizes your fall risk, increases your metabolism, boosts bone density, and helps you achieve a toned physique.”

Try it at home:⁣ Incorporate these five essential exercises into your strength training routine with weights at the gym or with resistance bands or a TRX suspension trainer at home. Aim for two to four sets of eight to 12 reps for each exercise, depending on your experience level.⁣ WATCH HERE

  1. Overhead press⁣

  2. Row

  3. Front squat⁣

  4. Romanian deadlift

  5. Suitcase carry with kettlebell

Optimizing digestion and nutrient absorption

3. Optimize digestion and nutrient absorption⁣.

Why it works: How you eat is as important as what you eat. To feel your best, make sure your body can digest and absorb the maximum amount of nutrients. This means slowing down, paying attention to your food, and stepping away from the desk and TV during meals. “Mindless eating is linked to overeating and weight gain,” says Serena Holtsinger, a Lifeforce Health Coach, “while mindful eating is linked to improved eating behaviors, decreased sweets consumption, and maintained fasting blood glucose levels.” 

Try it at home: Before you take your first bite, take a moment to anticipate and appreciate your food. And relax! The parasympathetic (or rest and digest) branch of our nervous system must be activated for digestion to work properly, so stress eating is a no-go, says Holtsinger. “A few deep breaths or gratitude exercises before meals can significantly reduce stress and improve your digestive health.”⁣ WATCH HERE

4. Regulate your circadian rhythm with light.

Why it works: Studies find that a lack of sunlight can throw off your body’s internal clock and make it hard to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Research shows that increasing the amount of time you spend outdoors can improve sleep quality and support your circadian rhythm, which can go a long way regarding healthy aging and longevity. 

Early sunlight exposure has the added benefit of boosting mitochondria production, says Lifeforce Physician Assistant Mary Stratos, PA-C, IFMCP. “This is crucial because mitochondrial dysfunction is a primary cause of many chronic conditions and aging.” 

Try it at home:⁣ Soak up morning sunlight within an hour of waking up. (Use a bright light box if it’s still dark out.) If you can, go for a walk outside. At bedtime, make sure the bedroom is dark. Stratos says even a sliver of light in a room can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Cover up all electronic lights while you sleep or wear an eye mask and power down your devices before bedtime — the blue light they emit stimulates cortisol and suppresses melatonin. LEARN MORE HERE

5. Set goals that stick. 

Why it works: Setting and achieving goals can help propel you toward incredible growth, but it’s often easier said than done. Lifeforce Senior Health Coach Patrick Doyle is a big fan of the WOOP method for daily support in reinforcing your goals. The clinically studied approach has been proven effective in helping people make long-lasting and effective behavior changes. All it takes is five to 10 minutes of uninterrupted time daily.

Try it at home: Answer the following questions in order using three to six words each, and imagine each answer fully before moving on to the next. WATCH IT HERE and find more detailed WOOP practices here.

  • Wish. What is your most important wish? Make sure it’s challenging but achievable.

  • Outcome. What would be the best outcome for fulfilling your wish? How would fulfilling your wish make you feel?

  • Obstacle. What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish? What is your main inner obstacle?

  • Plan. What can you do to overcome your obstacle? Name one action or thought that you can use to overcome your obstacle. Put this in the format of an “if/then” statement. If (the obstacle happens), then I will (plan to address the obstacle). Slowly and intentionally repeat your plan.

The benefits of contrast therapy and how to do it

6. Recover with contrast therapy.

Why it works: Contrast therapy alternates between hot and cold treatments that dilate and constrict your blood vessels. Switching between the two in quick succession can have a multitude of health benefits, including improved circulation, reduced inflammation, faster recovery, muscle healing, stress relief, and more. ⁣In addition to the physical benefits, the ritualistic nature of contrast therapy, especially when practiced regularly, can also help contribute to a sense of emotional resilience and stability. ⁣

Try it at home: “If you’re just getting started, ease in,” says Jordan Shakeshaft, NASM CPT, and Lifeforce Head of Content. Initially, you might only tolerate one minute of cold exposure, and that’s OK. Eventually, you can work your way up to eight to 10 minutes of heat (sauna, steam, hot tub, or shower) followed by two to three minutes of cold (ice bath or cold shower). Repeat two to four times, always ending in cold. “If you can do that a couple times a week, that’s a good regimen,” says Dr. Greene. WATCH HERE.   

7. Practice breathwork. 

Why it works: Breathwork involves various breathing techniques and exercises to improve mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Research shows that deep breathing can reduce cortisol, a hormone that makes you age faster. Intentional breathing can also help lower inflammation, reduce anxiety and depression, and enhance cognition

Lifeforce Health Coach Sara Ramirez recommends breathwork as one way to support your mind-body connection. “The mind and body are a cohesive unit although modern medicine views emotions and physiology as separate despite multiple studies showing otherwise.”

Try it at home: When anxious, try box breathing. Sit with your feet on the floor and close your eyes. Inhale through your nose for four counts, bringing your consciousness to the air entering your lungs. Hold your breath for four counts. Slowly exhale for four counts. Repeat for four rounds. TRY IT HERE (and find more breathing exercises at the WIM HOF Method). 

The mindset that helped me complete an ironman

8. Change your mindset and cultivate growth. 

Why it works: If you want to live 15% longer, a 30-year study says that embracing an optimistic mindset is a major predictor of longevity. Even better news: Only 25% of your baseline optimism is genetic, so cultivating a cheerier outlook is largely in your control. Part of it is also adopting a growth mindset — believing your skills and talents can be developed through dedication and hard work — versus a fixed mindset, which is thinking you can't be changed.

Try it at home: Setting achievable goals is a great way to cultivate a growth mindset. “Always be training for something,” says Lifeforce Clinician and Ironman champ Tanya Zucco, PA-C, MS. “Having a goal for each step of the way is key. Once you reach that goal, re-strategize to a new goal. Pick something like an event with a date you can’t move, so you’ll have a goal and know what you need to do to accomplish it.” GET INSPIRED HERE

9. Get proactive with your health. 

Why it works: Your actions today affect how you’ll feel 10 years later. Investing in your health now means avoiding potential issues in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. While reactive healthcare focuses on reacting to symptoms only after they’ve already manifested, proactive healthcare focuses on preventing them in the first place. So you can live better and longer — plus save time, money, and energy.

Try it at home: The Lifeforce Membership empowers you and gives you tools to stay on track for a long and healthy life. You’ll get a personalized plan, an experienced medical team, a dedicated health coach, biomarker testing every three months, and 20% off Lifeforce nutraceuticals.

Balance Blood Sugar with Vinegar

10. Balance your blood sugar with vinegar. 

Why it works: According to Lifeforce Physician Julia Afridi, DO, “Excess blood glucose creates molecules called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs are a significant aspect of aging and lead to inflammation and oxidative stress, which hamper longevity.” 

Despite what Mary Poppins told you, a spoonful of vinegar helps the sugar go down. The acetic acid in vinegar temporarily inactivates a digestive enzyme that breaks down starch, so glucose is released into the body more slowly. The acid also helps muscles absorb glucose when it hits our system, resulting in fewer glucose spikes. 

Try it at home: Dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink up before each meal — especially when eating starchy dishes. WATCH HERE and get more tips on balancing blood sugar here.

11. Sneak in snack-sized workouts. 

Why it works: Sitting for long periods can increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and mortality — even if you exercise regularly. One way to get around this is incorporating short bursts of movement — like power walking, intense house cleaning, or playing with kids or pets — throughout the day. Adding micro-workouts to your daily routine may significantly reduce your risk of dying from cancer or heart disease. Research shows that just five minutes of vigorous movement every 30 minutes can help offset the harmful effects of sitting. 

Try it at home: “Choose activities you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick to them,” says Dr. Renae Thomas, a triple board-certified Lifeforce clinician. “Do anything that gets you out of your chair. Set an alarm on your phone every 30 to 60 minutes until it becomes a habit.”

12. Find your tribe and keep them close.  

Why it works: One clinical review showed that people with strong social connections had a 50% better chance of survival than those with weaker ties, regardless of age, sex, and health status. Lifeforce Clinician Mary Stratos, PA-C, IFMCP, explains that the body’s ability to repair and regenerate tissues depends on being in a calm, hemostatic state versus an activated, catabolic state. 

“The data is undeniable,” she says. “Regulating and reducing stress hormones through positive social interactions promotes many healthy pathways and reduces all causes of mortality.”

Try it at home: “Making time for social connection is easier said than done,” says Lifeforce Chief Medical Officer Kurt Hong, MD, PhD. “But it can be as simple as calling one friend a day or taking an extra minute to connect with the cashier at the grocery store.” Prioritize your relationships with friends and family like you would a professional one by scheduling meetups, phone calls, and Facetime. You can also call a pal while on your daily walk.

Ready to prioritize your health in the new year? The Lifeforce Membership gives you access to biomarker testing (including a full hormone panel) every three months, plus ongoing personalized advice from a Lifeforce Clinician and Health Coach. Learn more here

This article was medically reviewed by Tanya Zucco, PA-C, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Hormone Expert. 

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