8 Habits That Could Add 24 Years to Your Life, According to a New Study
Are you curious about the tips, tricks, and science-backed hacks to lengthen your life? You're certainly not alone. While most of us wish we had a regular membership to the Fountain of Youth, alas, we have to get creative and make healthy choices in all aspects of our lives, from what we eat to how we interact with our environment. And now we have an inside peek into exactly what habits we can incorporate into our daily routines to live longer. According to a new study, one way we can support longevity is by making eight specific lifestyle choices that the researchers identified could extend your life up to 24 years.
From exercising regularly to managing stress to eating a plant-based diet, these healthy lifestyle choices can add literally decades to your life. Keep reading to learn all about the study as well as the healthy habits to live 24 years longer. And when you're finished, don't miss These 4 Things Can Predict How Long You'll Live, According to Science.
Groundbreaking new research, which was presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meet-up of the American Society for Nutrition, observed the lifestyle habits of almost 720,000 military veterans aged 40 to 99, CNN reports. All of these individuals participated in the Million Veteran Program, a long-term study that examined the overall wellness and health of veterans in the United States.
The unpublished study revealed that a 40-year-old man who incorporated one healthy habit in his routine added 4.5 years to his life. The results of adding another healthy habit? This man's life was extended by an extra seven years. And making a total of three healthy lifestyle tweaks? That resulted in 8.6 more years of life. The moral of the story here is the greater number of healthy habits added to one's lifestyle could tack on almost 25 extra years of life.
Women reaped the benefits of making their routines extra healthy, too. For females, following one healthy habit extended a woman's life by 3.5 years, and two positive behaviors lengthened her life by eight years. Three healthy habits tacked on 12.6 years, and combining all of these good-for-you habits added 22.6 more years to a woman's lifespan. Pretty awesome, don't you think?
"Doing all eight had a synergistic effect, sort of an added boost to extend your life, but any small change made a difference," explained the lead author of the study, Xuan-Mai Nguyen to CNN. "[The research revealed] an 87% relative reduction in all-cause mortality for those who adopted all eight lifestyle factors compared to those who adopted none."
Nguyen also pointed out, "There's a 20-year period in which you can make these changes, whether you do it gradually or all at once. We also did an analysis to see if we eliminated people with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer, and the like, does it change the outcome? And it really didn't. So, if you start off with chronic diseases, making changes does still help."
These are the eight habits that could add 24 years to your life:
The study identified these eight lifestyle choices that resulted in a significant boost in longevity. Here they are—starting with the habit that was most effective at extending the participants' lives.
According to experts, exercise is the number one habit that can give your overall health a boost—so much so, in fact, that working out can lower your risk of mortality by 46% when compared to individuals who do not engage in physical activity.
2. Stay clear of opioids.
The next healthy habit that lengthened individuals' lives was living an opioid-free life. The research showed that doing so lowered the chance of early mortality by 38%. Opioids are a crisis in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
3. Live a tobacco-free life.
Living a tobacco-free life from the get-go can lower the risk of mortality by 29%, according to the research. The researchers did not take into consideration individuals who used to smoke.
4. Manage your stress level.
Chronic stress is literally a killer. The study revealed that dealing with stress effectively can lower the chance of premature mortality by 22%.
5. Consume a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet can increase your life by as much as 21%, the study explained. According to Nguyen, you don't need to go fully vegan or vegetarian in order to soak up the benefits, though. Simply maintain a nutritious diet like the Mediterranean diet, or one that is full of leafy green veggies and whole grains.
6. Control your alcohol consumption.
It's important to stay away from binge drinking. Even a moderate amount of alcohol can put you at risk of death. Limiting your alcohol consumption can lower the possibility of death by 19%.
7. Get enough shuteye.
Sleeping well each night works wonders for your overall health. You should get between seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to lower your risk of early all-cause mortality by 18%. Bad sleep patterns can lead to a plethora of negative health conditions, such as early death.
8. Surround yourself with healthy relationships.
Socializing with individuals who make you the best version of yourself (and give you a happiness boost) can increase your life by 5%, according to the study. It's important to avoid being isolated or lonely, especially as you age.
- Source: https://www.research.va.gov/mvp/