Lifestyle Habits : Five Healthy Lifestyle Habits Can Extend Life By More Than A Decade, Study Suggests
New study has shown that men and women following five healthy lifestyle habits can add more than a decade of life expectancy.
“This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population,” said senior study author Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low.”
Researchers from Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study report that for participants not following any of the five habits, life expectancy at age 50 was 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men. For those adopting all five habits, life expectancy at 50 was projected to be a little over 43 years for women and 37 years for men.
The amazing thing is that the mortality from both cardiovascular disease and cancer was greatly reduced for those maintaining the five habits: 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer, compared to participants least likely to follow the habits.
Since most of us aren’t living a completely unhealthy lifestyle, we won’t have as many modifications to make, and not as many years to gain. Still, “each more low-risk factor was associated with around two to three years longer life expectancy,” Li said. “The more the better.”
Lifestyle Habits Meaning
A way of living of individuals, families (households), and societies, which they manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social, and economic environments on a day-to-day basis.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits List
The following simple Lifestyle Habits recommended for changes by researchers as good habits for daily life.
1. EAT A HEALTHY DIET.
You should follow what the researchers call a “high-quality diet” or healthy lifestyle eating habits. That means a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit salt, saturated fat and sugar.
2. DON’T SMOKE.
It’s known that smoking is the top risk factor for various cancers and heart disease.
3. EXERCISE REGULARLY.
The research looked at the impact of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. The definition of “exercising regularly” for the study was at least 30 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
The researchers’ calculations were based on certain levels of exercise, weight and dietary improvement. But you can get more bang for your buck by doing better than those baseline levels, Li said.
“For example, one hour a week of moderate physical activity was associated with around three to four years longer life expectancy, as compared to none, while three hours a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with six years longer,” Li explained. “And six hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with eight years longer life expectancy.”
Moderate exercise, even for a few minutes at a time can lower cancer risk and repair heart disease, according to a study of 2018 .
4. KEEP TRIM.
The numbers to aim for in the healthy category were BMIs between 18.5 and 24.9. A high body-mass index is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Healthy body weight was defined as staying within the healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) range.
5. DRINK MODERATELY.
The definition of “not drinking too much” was drinking up to one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women, or up to two glasses for men. This recommendation comes with a caveat because some studies have linked any kind of alcohol consumption with a heightened risk of cancer.
“At this moment we would suggest that alcohol drinkers limit the amount they drink to a moderate level,” Li said. “We would not recommend that non-drinkers drink alcohol just for its cardiovascular disease benefit while ignoring it’s potential risk for cancer.”
A recent study found that more than five alcoholic drinks per week could shorten life by two years.
Dr. Joon Lee hopes the research inspires Americans to lead healthier lives.
“It’s important for the public to understand the magnitude of the impact Lifestyle Habits has,” said Lee, chief of the division of cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-director of the Heart and Vascular Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
We’re just now starting to see the impact of “the tsunami impact of obesity,” Lee said.
Up until 2011, deaths from heart disease had been declining mostly due to improvements in technology and medicine, he said. “But after that it started going up again.”
“If all my patients really understood we are talking about a decade of your life that you could be prolonging they might be inspired to make more changes,” Lee said. “And though the paper doesn’t address this, it’s not simply about extending the duration of your life, but likely also extending the healthy duration of life.”
The straightforwardness of the healthy Lifestyle Habits was surprising to Dr. Douglas Vaughan, chair of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
“It’s remarkable how simple those interventions are,” said Vaughn.