To live a longer, happier, and healthier life, we should follow in the footsteps of some old-timers. That’s exactly what a new study from the National Institute on Aging found. Here are some of the critical factors that contribute to aging well, according to the Institute’s director, Dr. Luigi Ferrucci:

  • First: Balance your stress. Many studies show that chronic stress is bad for us, but it’s also bad to go through life with no stress. Because we need stress to “toughen us up,” and prepare us for difficult challenges. For example: A new study found that people who had experienced some misfortune in life,  like going through a divorce, were generally more well-adjusted that those who had no misfortune. And other studies show that short-term stress can boost our memory, and even help us heal faster after surgery. Researchers say the key is to find a balance between stress that energizes us, and stress that paralyzes us.

  • The 2nd key to aging well: Look at the bright side of getting older. Like the fact that age tends to bring more wisdom, and gets us that much closer to retirement. It turns out, people who look forward to aging are less likely to develop heart disease later in life, compared to people who dread getting older. Because when you think about aging in a positive way, you’re more likely to take advantage of the opportunities it presents,  which, in turn, leads to a longer life.

  • One more factor in aging well: Exercise. The blood flow and oxygen we get coursing through us can bolster our immune system, which gets weaker as we age. But get this: Research shows that doing just 2-hours of exercise every other day by age 50, lowers our risk of developing heart failure, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s by 20-percent.