5 Life Expectancy Indicators

Life Events

We all want to live long and healthy lives. So you do what you can. Maybe you eat right, exercise, and quit base jumping…because you know there’s a correlation between lifestyle and life span.

Over the years though, scientists and doctors have linked life expectancy to all kinds of other odd things, from personality traits to driving records. And these days, there are some interesting connections circulating in the medical community.

For instance, did you know the following can help predict your life span:

1. How fast you walk

No, you can’t instantly tack on an extra couple of years by picking up the pace trying to catch a bus. But a University of Pittsburgh study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that walking speed and gait was linked to body mass index, blood pressure, smoking history and even chronic disorders. The research concluded that a faster walking speed is associated with a longer life expectancy.

2. How you take care of your teeth

Better start flossing! A 2012 study in the Journal of Aging Research found a wide range of correlations between dental care and mortality rates among the elderly. The study showed that people who flossed regularly over a 17-year period had a 30% lower mortality rate than their sore-gummed equals. And those who went to the dentist in the past year stood a 50% greater chance of survival than those who didn’t! Now, keep in mind this study only evaluated a senior population, but generally it looks like taking care of your chompers may make for a longer life.

3. How quickly you can push a button

If you’re quick to push people’s buttons, your life expectancy may well end up shorter. But it turns out if your reaction time is sharper (and you can actually push a button quickly), you may live longer. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concluded that slow reaction times lead to increased risks for premature death and cardiovascular issues. Obviously plenty of other symptoms usually accompany slower reaction times (like obesity, low activity levels, etc.) but sharpening those motor skills may be another way of getting up there in years.

4. How educated you are

It’s time to hit the books, because an additional four years of education is proven to tack on as much as a decade to the average American's life span, and the link is even stronger for women! Now like most of these observations, this is just a correlation, and there are plenty of socioeconomic factors that play a role here. But the fact is, as far as surefire life expectancy indicators go, your level of schooling is one of the most reliable.

5. How well you get back up

Life is all about taking the hits and moving forward…building character, and rolling with the punches. But we’re not talking metaphors here. Because apparently, how quickly you literally get yourself back up can predict your life span. A December 2012 European Society of Cardiology report confirmed that people who have a hard time standing up from a sitting position from the floor are nearly seven times more likely to pass away in the next six years, than those who could easily stand up.

Long story short? Leading a healthy lifestyle and scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor are tried and true ways of living a longer and healthier life. Still, the little things matter more than you may realize. And these correlations prove that cutting corners, whether it’s skipping the floss or skipping class, can catch up to you in the end.

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IC-0614-A          06/14