These 4 healthy habits can add more than 5 years to your life

  • New research details healthy lifestyle factors that can extend your life.
  • People at genetic risk of early death can extend their lives by up to 5.5 years.
  • Doctors say lifestyle factors can have a big impact on your overall longevity.

We may not all live to be 100, but we can still work towards a long and fruitful life. For people at genetic risk of dying early, it's important to adopt some healthy habits — but figuring out exactly where to start can seem daunting. Now, a new study shows that just by adjusting your daily habits, you can add up to 5.5 years to your life.

The study, published in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, analyzed data from more than 350,000 people over an average of 13 years, in which researchers looked at information about their genetics, socioeconomic status, education and disease history. Each person was given a polygenetic score, which combines a score based on their lifestyle habits as well as genes that can influence life span.

Overall, researchers found that everyone was 78% more likely to die early if they led an “unhealthy” lifestyle. People who had a genetic risk of dying young And People with unhealthy lifestyles were twice as likely to die early compared with people who had no genetic risk of dying early and had healthy lifestyles.

Ultimately, researchers found that people at genetic risk of dying early could live 5.5 years longer if they followed a “healthy” lifestyle (more on that later). The researchers concluded, “An optimal combination of healthy lifestyles may yield superior benefits for longevity regardless of genetic background.”

Scientists found that these are the factors that made a difference, as well as what doctors recommend for living a healthy and long life.

Healthy habits that can add years to your life

The study looked at six factors of each person's lifestyle: their smoking status, level of physical activity, diet, how much alcohol they drank, body size and sleep habits. It is important to point out that the study was observational. And, as a result, researchers can only say that there is an association between certain factors and longer life, versus whether these factors actually cause someone to live longer.

But overall, researchers found that these four elements had the biggest impact on longevity:

  • smoking, People who did not smoke or had never smoked had a lower risk of premature death than people who currently smoked.
  • physical activity, Those at lowest risk meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for Americans, which suggest adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and strength training two days a week.
  • Sleep, Those who performed best slept seven to eight hours a night.
  • Diet, Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of premature death. According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people at lowest risk should drink no more than one alcoholic drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.

What do doctors recommend to help you live longer

Doctors say the latest study's findings give people good advice to follow — and emphasize that you can take ownership of your health. “This new study adds to the growing evidence that our genes are not our destiny,” says Christy Artz, MD, lifestyle medicine practitioner at Corwell Health.

Alfred F. Talia, MD, MPH, professor and chair of family medicine and community health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, agrees. “These findings confirm what we know from individual studies about each of the behaviors we examined,” he says. “It makes complete sense that a constellation of good behavior would have a positive impact on longevity.”

Getting regular, quality sleep as well as following a consistent exercise plan can be helpful, says Robert Glatter, MD, an ER physician at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital. “Not only is exercise important in maintaining and improving cardiovascular health but also brain health in improving health and longevity,” he says.

On the diet front, filling your plate mostly with vegetables is a good idea, says Ora Karp Gordon, MD, regional director of clinical genetics and genomics for Providence Southern California and professor of genetics at St. John's Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA. Are. “A quarter of your plate should be animal protein, ideally fish, and the rest vegetables or multigrains,” she says. “A primarily plant-based diet, if you can try to get it, is best.”

Dr. Gordon says that when it comes to hormone-based cancers, body weight and alcohol use are “very powerful modifiers of risk,” which is why he recommends staying within the recommended daily limit of alcohol if you can. Recommend to stay under intake.

Dr. Glatter says that getting regular movement into your life through daily walks is also “ideal,” noting that you may see heart health benefits in walking as few as 5,000 steps a day (even You can also try getting the benefits of walking a mile a day).

It's also helpful to do what you can to reduce stress, says Kimberly Prado DNP, clinical associate professor in the Division of Advanced Nursing Practice at Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey. “Stress can play an important role in the development of the disease,” she says. “Stress causes blood pressure to rise. Cortisol levels increase in response to physical and emotional stress, causing vasoconstriction and subsequently increasing blood pressure. She says that when you're constantly stressed, it increases your risk of accumulating excess fat in your body and even developing type 2 diabetes, among other things.

That's why Prado recommends doing your best to reduce your stress levels through means like meditation, positive social interactions, exercise, and following an anti-inflammatory diet. “There is a lot we can do to stop this [illness] And stay healthy,” she says.

Corinne Miller's headshot

Corinne Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, her work appears in Men's Health, Women's Health, Self, Glamour, and more. She has a master's degree from American University, lives by the beach, and hopes to one day own a teacup pig and taco truck.

Leave a Comment

“The Untold Story: Yung Miami’s Response to Jimmy Butler’s Advances During an NBA Playoff Game” “Unveiling the Secrets: 15 Astonishing Facts About the PGA Championship”