Living longer with an active, healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. Science has linked habits to live longer. You can increase your longevity with these habits: Getting the right amount of sleep, Eating well-balanced meals, Making time for physical activity, Keeping a healthy body weight, Not smoking or chewing tobacco, Limiting or avoiding alcohol, Maintaining a positive attitude, Staying mentally fit.
Habits linked to a long life backed by science
A new study from the University of Southern California (USC) has found that people who eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking are less likely to die early than those with other habits.
The research was conducted on nearly 1,000 adults between the ages of 50 and 79 years old in Los Angeles County. It followed them for an average of seven years.
The researchers found that people who ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily were 40% less likely to die during the follow-up period compared to adults who consumed fewer than two servings per day.
They also discovered that people who exercised at least 30 minutes three times a week were 20% less likely to die than their sedentary peers.
And finally, smokers were 60% more likely to die during the study.
“These findings suggest that healthy behaviors may be associated with longer lives,” said lead researcher Dr. Robert Lawler, professor of medicine and epidemiology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.
“It is important to note that these results do not prove cause and effect.”
He added: “However, they provide strong evidence that these behaviors are related to longer survival.”
Lawler explained that previous studies have shown that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
Similarly, he noted that regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
In addition, he pointed out that quitting smoking lowers mortality rates.
“Our findings support this notion,” said Lawler. “Smokers had higher mortality rates than non-smokers.”
According to him, the study showed that “healthy behaviors are associated with lower mortality rates among older adults”.
“This suggests that it might be possible to extend health span — the length of time we live without serious illness or disability — through healthier lifestyles,” he concluded.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, told DailyMail.com: “If you’re trying to make sense of what causes death, then looking at how different factors affect longevity makes perfect sense.
“There are many things that influence our chances of living past 80 – including genetics, socioeconomic status, access to care, and even where we live. But there are also many modifiable factors, like diet, exercise, sleep quality, stress levels, alcohol consumption, and smoking.”
Katz added: “We know that poor diets, lack of exercise, and cigarette smoking all contribute to premature death. This study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that adopting healthier habits can help us live longer.”
Katz said that while the study did not show that any specific food or drink caused better health outcomes, it does point to some foods as being beneficial.
He explained that the study focused on fruit and vegetable intake because they contain antioxidants which protect against free radicals, molecules that damage cells and DNA.
“Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals),” he said.
“They also contain compounds called polyphenols, which are linked to reduced inflammation and improved immune function. So, if you eat lots of them, you’ll probably feel better.”
Katz said that while the study didn’t look specifically at nuts, he believes they would benefit from similar conclusions.
“Nuts are high in protein and have been found to improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin sensitivity,” he said. “So, I think they should be included in a healthy diet.”
Positive lifestyle factors that promote good health
Katz also recommended other positive lifestyle factors that may help people live longer.
These include having an active social life, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, limiting screen time, and exercising regularly.
“All these factors are associated with increased longevity,” he said…
Getting the right amount of sleep
Katz said that one of the most important factors is getting enough sleep.
“Sleep helps keep our bodies functioning properly,” he said, adding that too little sleep has been shown to cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline.
“It also affects our hormone production, immunity, and metabolism. And when we don’t get enough sleep, our risk for cardiovascular events increases by 50 per cent.”
Katz said that the average person needs seven hours of sleep each night. However, this varies depending on age and gender.
“Adults need more than eight hours of sleep, but teens and children need less,” he said.
Eating well-balanced meals
Katz said that eating a balanced meal every day is another key factor in promoting good health.
“A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. It’s also important to limit processed foods, sugary drinks, red meat, fried foods, and fast food.”
“In general, the more nutritious your diet, the lower your chance of developing chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.”
Making time for physical activity
Katz said that regular physical activity is another way to stay healthy.
“Regular exercise reduces stress, improves mood, boosts energy, strengthens muscles, and burns calories. It also lowers the risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and some cancers.”
He added that it’s important to make time for physical activity even if you’re busy or tired.
“Even short bursts of physical activity can boost your energy level. So, try to find 30 minutes here and there throughout the day to move around and do something fun.”
“The bottom line is: If you want to live long, take care of yourself.”
Keeping a healthy body weight
Katz said that maintaining a healthy weight is another significant factor in living a long and happy life.
“Being overweight or obese raises your risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and certain types of cancer. Being underweight puts you at higher risk of death from any cause.”
“If you’re trying to lose weight, start slowly and gradually. Don’t cut out entire food groups. Instead, focus on making small changes to your diet over time. For example, swap high-calorie snacks for healthier options. Or replace fatty meats with chicken breast or salmon instead.”
Not smoking or chewing tobacco
Katz said that quitting smoking completely may help reduce your chances of dying prematurely.
“Smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. In addition, it raises your risk of several others serious conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and dementia.”
‘Chewing tobacco is equally harmful, as it contains nicotine and chemicals that damage teeth and gums.”
” Quitting smoking and chewing tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.”
” The sooner you quit, the better.”
Limiting or avoiding alcohol
Katz said that drinking too much alcohol can lead to liver damage, which increases your risk of many diseases.
“Alcohol also impairs judgment, slows reaction times, and makes you more likely to get into accidents. And heavy drinking can be dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies.”
„Drinking alcohol in moderation—one drink per day for men, two for women—is generally safe. But if you have a family history of alcoholism, don’t drink at all.”
„If you are planning to become pregnant, avoid alcohol altogether.”
Maintaining a positive attitude
Katz said that having a positive outlook on life helps you cope with stressful situations and enjoy life more.
“A positive mindset has been linked to lower blood pressure, less depression, and greater self-esteem. It also protects against Alzheimer’s disease and other mental disorders.”
“So, keep a positive outlook by being grateful for what you already have.”
“And remember that happiness doesn’t come from getting stuff; it comes from appreciating who and what we already have.”
Staying mentally fit
Katz said that staying mentally fit is an essential part of living a long and happy lifestyle.
“Mental fitness means having a positive outlook on life. It helps you cope with stressful situations and deal effectively with everyday challenges.”
’It also helps you maintain relationships with friends and family members. And it makes you feel happier and less stressed.”
’So, how do you stay mentally fit? Try these tips:
• Practice mindfulness meditation daily.
• Keep a gratitude journal.
• Spend time outdoors every day.
• Take up a new hobby.
• Get involved in social activities.
• Connect with people who are close to you.”
“The bottom line is: Maintaining mental fitness is just as important as taking good care of your body.
Healthy lifestyle and longevity
Katz concluded his article by saying that adopting healthy lifestyle habits will not only improve your physical well-being, but your emotional state as well.
“By keeping yourself physically active, eating nutritious foods, and maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll live longer.”
‚So, adopt a healthier lifestyle today!”
Lifestyle Changes That Increase Your Longevity
Most people think about longevity when they hear about centenarians. However, there are many ways to increase your lifespan without resorting to extreme measures. Here are some simple steps to help you achieve this goal.
1. Eat right
Eating a balanced diet is key to living a long and healthy life. A Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, nuts, beans, legumes, and herbs is one of the healthiest diets out there.
2. Stay active
Regular exercise keeps your muscles strong and prevents obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, coronary artery disease, and stroke. If you’re still a smoker, quit now.
4. Drink water
Water is vital to your overall health. Drinking enough water each day ensures proper functioning of your kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, eyes, ears, nose, throat, mouth, and digestive system.
5. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol contains toxins that damage cells and cause cancer. Alcohol also lowers your immune system and reduces the effectiveness of medication. So if you drink alcohol, cut back or avoid it altogether.
6. Reduce stress
Stress affects your brain’s ability to function properly. Stress causes your blood pressure to rise, which puts you at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, memory loss, headaches, depression, and weight gain.
8. Be kind to others
Being kind to others boosts your self-esteem and happiness levels. Studies show that people who have more friends tend to be healthier than those who don’t.