Adopting eight healthy habits in midlife could extend your life by decades.
A major American study looked at eight important healthy lifestyle habits, including not smoking, eating a good diet, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress.
They also included being physically active, having positive social relationships with other people, not drinking to excess on a regular basis, and avoiding addiction to opioid drugs.
Women with these eight habits at age 40 could live an average of 21 years longer than women without any of the habits, a study found.
Men in their 40s with all eight habits, compared to those with zero, could expect to live 24 years longer on average.
Pictured above are the eight habits that could help you live longer, according to a major study
The findings come from nearly 720,000 US military veterans who completed lifestyle questionnaires and whose medical records were analyzed.
The group was then followed, from 40 to 99 years old, to see who died.
Dr. Xuan-Mai Nguyen, lead author of the study from Carle Illinois College of Medicine, said, “We were really surprised how much could be gained by adopting one, two, three or all eight lifestyle factors.”
How to extend your life by decades
be physically active — more than about 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity
never have smoked
Good diet — rich in fruits and vegetables, for example
Don’t drink to excess on a regular basis — avoid more than four drinks a day
good sleep — seven to nine hours of sleep a night, without insomnia
Ppositive social relationships — how to have someone close to you to talk to about problems
Stress management — based on how well people deal with high-pressure situations
Being free of opioid addiction
“The results of our research suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for both public health and personal well-being.
“The sooner the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it’s still beneficial.”
There were 33,375 deaths among the people in the study, allowing the researchers to see how much less likely people with each of the eight healthy habits were to die compared to other people.
Overall, the results showed that being physically active, not smoking, and not being addicted to opioids had the greatest impact on life expectancy.
These reduced the risk of death by 46% from being active, by 29% for non-smokers and by 38% for those without an opioid problem, which can occur as a result of becoming addicted to powerful painkillers prescribed for the disease.
Minimizing stress, having a good diet, not being a binge drinker and having good sleep habits were associated with about a 20 percent reduction in the risk of death.
The smallest effect was seen in people with positive social relationships, but this was associated with about a five percent reduction in the chance of dying during the study.
based on the resultsPresenting at NUTRITION 2023, the annual meeting of the American Nutrition Society, Dr Nguyen, a Million Veteran Program Scientist, said: ‘Healthy lifestyle habits can prevent underlying causes of chronic disease, which could help people live longer, into their eighties instead of sixties.
“It could save the health service money for medicines and treatment.”
The graph above shows how life expectancy increased based on how many ‘longevity’ factors a study participant had
At the age of 40, men who have no healthy lifestyle at all could expect to die at the age of 62 on average.
But those with the eight healthy habits could live to be 86 years old.
Women with none of the healthy habits could expect to live to age 66, but those with all eight could expect to live to 88 on average.
Having all eight healthy habits was linked to an 87 percent reduction in the risk of dying prematurely.
There was a larger effect on life expectancy for people who had all eight healthy habits at a younger age, but an effect was still seen up to age 60, when date was analysed.
Both sexes could expect an additional 17 to 18 years to live if they had all eight good habits in place by age 60.