How to live longer: The 15-minute activity that could extend your lifespan

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As the weather outside is grey, cold and wet – and the evenings are shortening too – you may feel less inclined to venture outside. Thankfully, aside from exercise, there is another way to extend your lifespan.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) cites a five-year study – involving 201 people with coronary heart disease – where a simple at-home activity improved longevity.

After meditating daily for 15 minutes, the researchers noted how it reduced the participants’ risk of death, heart attack and stroke by 48 percent.

These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and lower stress levels.

The American Stroke Association reported people over the age of 40 are at risk of developing aneurysms.

An aneurysm is a weakened area in a blood vessel that usually enlarges in response to consistent high blood pressure.

Think of a balloon as an analogy – the more it stretches (like the blood vessel wall), the more likely it is to pop (a ruptured aneurysm).

Consistent high blood pressure is the leading cause of a ruptured aneurysm.

High blood pressure can come about from strong emotions, such as being upset or angry.

When an aneurysm ruptures, for instance in the brain, bleeding can be fatal.

Known as a subarachnoid haemorrhage, symptoms can include a sudden, severe headache that can last from several hours to days.

It may also lead to nausea and vomiting, drowsiness or a coma. The brain may directly be damaged too.

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This is known as a hemorrhagic stroke, which can lead to weakness or paralysis of an arm or leg.

It may also cause issues with speaking or understanding language, vision problems and seizures.

Once an aneurysm bleeds, there’s a 40 percent chance of death, and a 66 percent chance of brain damage.

The more bleeding there is, the more severe the brain damage is likely to be.

This is one of the reasons why high blood pressure is considered a silent killer.

Published in the Journal of Hypertension (another term for high blood pressure), researchers recorded the benefits of meditation.

A total of 42 people – with a median age of 56 years old – took part in the experiment.

Half of the group were randomly assigned to undergo mindfulness training (i.e. meditation) over eight weeks.

The other half of the group attended health education talks instead for the same amount of time.

Their blood pressure was checked before the intervention, at week four, week eight and week 20 for a follow-up visit.

By week eight, the mindfulness group had “significantly lower blood pressure readings”.

This trend was still seen by week 20, but it wasn’t as significant, suggesting daily meditation practice is required to reap the benefits.

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