Good habits can make you happier and richer. Perhaps most importantly, they can also add decades to your life.
Engaging in eight specific healthy lifestyle factors by middle age is associated with living significantly longer, according to a new study.
The preliminary findings of the study of more than 700,000 people were released at a recent annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston.
For the study, scientists analyzed data from medical records and questionnaires that were collected over the course of nearly a decade from U.S. veterans, ages 40 to 99.
The researchers found that:
- Men who practice all eight habits at age 40 would be predicted to live an average of 24 years longer than men with none of these habits.
- Women who practice all eight habits would be predicted to live an average of 21 additional years longer than women with none of these habits.
The researchers say good lifestyle habits reduce the risk of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease that lead to premature disability and death.
So, if you want to live decades longer, the following habits could get you a long way toward your goal.
Being physically active
Few things are better for your health than exercise. The researchers found that being inactive was associated with a 35% to 40% increased risk of death during the study period.
To get started on a more active life, check out “5 Free and Cheap Ways to Exercise at Home.”
Being free from opioid addiction
Not surprisingly, becoming addicted to opioids also was associated with a 35% to 40% increased risk of death during the study period.
At lower doses, opioids are used to control pain, and the most significant side effect is likely to be drowsiness. But at higher doses, opioids slow your breathing and heart rate, and can kill you, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Not smoking is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your body. Smoking is the third and final bad habit on this list that was associated with a 35% to 40% increased risk of death during the study period.
Stress is a quiet killer. It was associated with a 20% higher risk of death during the study period.
To bring more calmness into your life, check out our story “This Simple Action May Boost Joy and Cut Stress in 5 Minutes.”
Having a good diet
Eating the right foods gives your body the fuel it needs to go the distance. Poor dietary habits were associated with a 20% greater risk of death during the study period.
Boost your nutrition and your bank account at the same time by learning about the “12 Healthy Foods To Eat on a Budget.”
Not regularly binge drinking
Smoking and drinking are a one-two punch that can knock out hopes of longevity. Binge-drinking also was associated with a 20% higher risk of death during the study period.
Having good sleep hygiene
By and large, Americans do not get enough sleep. And that lack of quality slumber was associated with a 20% increase in the risk of death during the study period.
Even if poor sleep doesn’t kill you, it still has other negative consequences, as we reported in “7 Surprising Ways Lack of Sleep Makes Your Life Miserable.”
Having positive social relationships
Good family and friends are priceless. In fact, not having positive relationships was associated with a 5% increase in the risk of death during the study period.