Life is an amazing gift when you stop and think about it. Out of all the things that are living, you get to be you—which is a lot better than being a sea slug, for example. In order to ensure that you get the most out this life and as many years as you possibly can, you need to take good care of your body—that vessel that lets you breathe air, eat food, meet your friends at restaurants and get about in general.

While there are plenty of complicated procedures you can undergo to try to lengthen your lifespan, there are also a few simple things you can do to live a long, healthy life as well. Here are five suggestions that just might help you on your path to longevity:

1. Stay Socially Active

Shrouding yourself in the aura of the mysterious loner might be cool when you’re younger, but as you start to get up there in years, you might want to become more socially active. People with plenty of friends, and who are able to get out into the world and socialize, tend to live longer than people who stay by themselves. Social isolation is just plain bad for your health, and in some studies, ranks right up there with not getting enough exercise.

2. Exercise More

Speaking of exercise, there’s a good chance you probably need to get more of it, especially if you’re an American used to living a hefty portion of your life in your car. This one really is a no-brainer. Even a simple, 30-minute walk once a day, or a bit longer if you can only walk every other day, should add years to your life. Exercise will lower your blood pressure and help prevent your bones and joints from turning into creaky old things that will cause you a lot of bother down the road.

3. Take Excellent Care of Your Gums and Teeth

Brush your teeth—with an electric toothbrush, if possible—two or three time per day, and visit your dentist at least once, if not twice a year. Not only will you ensure that you maintain the quality of your pearly whites, but you will also most likely be adding to the number of years you'll be on this planet. Tooth rot and poor gum health have been linked with heart disease, which can shave years off your life in no time at all. Remember, despite all of his or her scary-looking implements, the dentist really is your friend.

Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images
Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

4. Get Plenty of Sleep

Beauty sleep is really life sleep at the end of the day. In a world that’s full of stress and constant deadlines, many people are finding it more and more difficult to get the good rest they need. Enough sleep (but not too much) will help you live longer, make you look younger, and improve your memory, as well as boost your immune system and your overall energy level. Naps, for those who can, are almost always a smart idea.

5. Drink More Water and a Little More Booze

If you increase your intake of water to seven or eight glasses per day (there’s no magic number here), you’ll be doing your body a world of good. More clean water will help you live a longer life, nourish your skin, improve your memory and keep your cells healthy. While you’re drinking more water, you might want to add in a glass or two of red wine (not a jug) per day as well. Research shows that red wine (in small amounts) is good for your heart, and your overall longevity.

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