Can Your New Year’s Resolution Impact Your Longevity?
Starting new health and wellness habits now can lead to long-term benefits later
While 2020 wasn't anything like we planned, most of us have probably forgotten that it started out the same as other years. We rang in a new decade, popped open a bottle of bubbly, and resolved to make some lifestyle changes.
As you might expect, the most popular new year's resolutions involve exercise, healthy eating, weight loss, and financial goals. Last winter, as Americans looked ahead to 2020, two surveys found that these were the most common responses. Of those who planned to make resolutions, 50% said they wanted to exercise more, 49% wanted to save money, 43% wanted to eat healthier and 37% wanted to lose weight, according to YouGov. Similarly, an Ipsos public opinion poll found that more than half of Americans who planned to have a new year's resolution set goals related to finances (51%), eating healthier (51%) and being more active (50%). Also on the list were improving mental well-being (38%) and learning a new skill (22%).
While good health and wellness habits are important for people of any age, these changes have a special benefit for older adults, since they can help you live longer. Studies show that improvements in diet, physical activity and mental acuity can lay the foundation for a long, healthy life. Here are a few ways that your new year's resolution can have a positive impact on your longevity:
After a holiday season filled with delicious food, it's no wonder that many of us resolve to lose weight and eat better in the year ahead. Incorporating more leafy greens, dark berries, legumes, lean meats, fish and healthy sources of fat (like olive oil) into your diet can make a big difference. Earlier this year, a study published in the BMJ journal "Gut" found that switching to the Mediterranean diet for one year changed the microbiome of older adults in ways that improved brain function and aided in longevity.
Similar benefits have been found by studying the impact of exercise on life expectancy. Research from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the National Cancer Institute found that adding low amounts of physical activity to daily routines was associated with increased longevity. One example? Researchers saw a correlation between walking briskly for at least 7.5 hours per week and a gain of 4.5 years of life expectancy after age 40, when compared with no physical activity. What's more, the study showed that physical activity was associated with longer life expectancies across a range of BMI (body mass index) groups and activity levels – so you can implement changes that work best for your routine.
Cognitive health and mental well-being are just as important as physical health, especially as we age. The science of neurogenesis shows that humans can develop new brain cells to support cognitive function even as we get older. Staying mentally active by learning new things is an important way to keep your mind sharp. Whether it's starting a new hobby, reading, working on puzzles or even playing games more often, there are plenty of options to try for your new year's resolution.
Saving more, sticking to a budget, or paying off debt – these came up often as financial goals for the year ahead, according to the YouGov and Ipsos surveys. But with all the steps you're taking to improve your quality of life, planning for longevity should also be on your list. In a survey conducted by AgeUp in February 2020, 53% of respondents said they would save more if they knew they would live to 100. Additionally, one in four boomers surveyed said they were "not at all confident" that they'd be able to afford the lifestyle they desire in their 90s.
Just like your new year's resolution, AgeUp can turn small actions now into a big impact later. Small monthly payments "stack" over time, creating a guaranteed income stream that begins once you reach age 91 or beyond. Contributions to AgeUp are shielded from market swings, and once payouts begin, they're guaranteed to last for life. You determine your monthly contributions (which start at $25 and can be paused or adjusted at any time) and decide whether or not you'd like a beneficiary to receive your premiums in the event that you do not reach your selected payout age. And since AgeUp is backed by MassMutual and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency, you can feel confident that we'll still be here in 30 years. The idea of a new year's resolution, at its core, is all about optimism – a belief that there are better days ahead, and that we have the power to make those better days a reality. We need that optimism now more than ever before. While 2020 wasn't what we'd hoped for, we can resolve to take care of ourselves and our loved ones – physically, mentally, and financially – in the years to come. Here's to brighter days ahead and a long, healthy life!
AgeUp is issued and backed by MassMutual, and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency, a MassMutual-owned innovation hub. MassMutual has been in business since 1851 and is rated A++ for financial strength by A.M. Best. [Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its subsidiaries C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company are rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of October 30, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.] For additional information, visit our website or check out our frequently asked questions.
AgeUp is a Deferred Income Annuity (ICC19DTCDIA) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Contract and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in Arkansas is 100139527.
Blair Baldwin is the founder and general manager of AgeUp, a first-of-its-kind financial product that fundamentally reimagines how annuities can both materially help the lives of middle class Americans and solve a looming financial crisis facing our country: how to close the gap between life expectancy and retirement savings. Blair and his team developed AgeUp as a new business unit inside Haven Life, MassMutual’s in-house startup. Read More
AgeUp provides guaranteed, supplemental income to help fill in the financial gaps that come with an exceptionally long lifetime. Each small monthly payment to AgeUp "stacks" over time, creating a secure income stream that begins at age 91 - or beyond - and lasts for life. Contributions to AgeUp are shielded from market swings and can be adjusted or paused at any time. Once the selected age is reached, payouts can be used for any expense, with no restrictions or claims to file. AgeUp is a deferred income annuity that is issued and backed by MassMutual and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency, a MassMutual-owned innovation hub.