Unlocking Longevity: Embrace These 8 Healthy Habits For A Longer, Healthier Life



A recent study highlights eight key healthy habits that can potentially extend your lifespan by up to 24 years, shedding light on effective ways to boost longevity.

The findings, though yet to be formally published or peer-reviewed, were presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual meeting in July.

By analyzing the habits and life expectancies of around 700,000 U.S. veterans, researchers identified a set of habits that, when adopted during middle age, significantly extended lifespans compared to those who followed few or none of these practices.

The study observed that 40-year-old individuals embracing all eight habits were projected to live around 24 years longer (for men) and 21 years longer (for women) than those who did not.

The 8 healthy habits for a longer life are as follows:

  • Healthy Diet: Follow nutritious and balanced diet.
  • Physical Activity: Staying consistently physically active.
  • Tobacco and Vape Avoidance: Not smoking or vaping.
  • Social Relationships: Maintaining healthy social connections.
  • Opioid Avoidance: Not abusing opioids.
  • Quality Sleep: Practicing good sleep hygiene.
  • Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Avoiding alcoholism and excessive binge drinking.
  • Stress Reduction: Managing and reducing stress.

Dr. Sean Heffron, a preventive cardiologist from NYU Langone Heart, expressed that these findings aren’t surprising, as many of these healthy habits have been repeatedly linked to cardiovascular health.

These habits, such as exercising, eating well, and managing stress, have significant associations with heart disease prevention, which remains a leading cause of death in the U.S.

The study emphasized that low physical activity, smoking, and opioid use escalate the risk of premature death by as much as 30-40%. This underscores the importance of staying active and drug-free in prolonging life.

Interestingly, participants did not need to adopt all eight habits to experience benefits. Applying even one or a few of these habits displayed positive outcomes in terms of longevity. Xuan-Mai T. Nguyen, a health science specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, noted that the impact of these habits was noteworthy, even with partial adoption.

The American Heart Association (AHA) also underscores the significance of these habits in its own list of Life’s Essential Eight, aimed at enhancing cardiovascular health and reducing heart disease risks.

AHA’s list aligns with the findings, emphasizing the role of better eating, smoking cessation, and quality sleep in overall well-being. Additionally, the AHA focuses on weight management, cholesterol control, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure management, recognizing their interconnectedness with diet and exercise.

Dr. Heffron advised that these habits are subjects he often discusses with his patients, given their robust data-backed impact. He highlighted that while physical activity and a healthy diet are prominent, managing stress, nurturing social relationships, and ensuring adequate sleep are equally essential.

Whether striving to reach a century or simply aiming for a healthier life, adopting these habits is valuable at any stage. Dr. Heffron emphasized that even individuals genetically predisposed to heart disease can mitigate their risk through a healthy lifestyle. Overall, these findings underscore the universal influence of lifestyle on health outcomes.

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