Everyone wishes for a longer life filled with vigor and health. Here are the 5 habits that lead to a longer healthier life.
We all want to live longer and better, but sometimes our busy lives get in the way. I’ve found that prioritizing sleep, eating more plants, engaging socially, and playing a musical instrument regularly can help you live a longer life. If you’re up for trying something new every day, great! But even if not, there are plenty of ways to improve your health and longevity without drastically changing your daily routine.
Extend your life expectancy with five healthy lifestyle habits.
Diabetes and cancer are consistently two of the most significant causes of deaths worldwide every year. However, there’s an easy way to prevent illnesses. A new study by a team of researchers from around the world that was published in the British Medical Journal identified five healthy habits of a healthy lifestyle that can extend people’s lives by 10 years and dramatically decrease the chance that they will be diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, and heart problems.
The study involved tens of thousands of UK males and females who were asked about their choices regarding their lifestyle in the early 1980s, with follow-up surveys sent out every two years, asking respondents if they had experienced any serious ailments. Based on the responses, researchers identified the five essential habits for living a longer and more healthy life.
If you’re a regular user of this website, there’s a good chance that you’ve already adopted many of these. They’re:
- Never smoked
- Being a healthy body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9
- At least 30 mins of moderate-to-vigorous workout each day
- Moderation in drinking alcohol
- Eating a healthy diet
Women and men who followed at least four of the five practices had an average of more than 10 years later than people who did not and lived a healthy life for the most part. The study concluded that an active lifestyle doesn’t mean that people are immune to illnesses, but it would be more difficult for them to develop any of them than unhealthy people. Additionally, people who were healthier and had been diagnosed with diseases stayed healthy longer after being diagnosed than people living an unhealthy lifestyle.
5 habits that lead to a longer healthier life
The power of positive habits is a common theme in self-help literature. From Mark Twain’s famous line, “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs one step at a time,” to the more recent work of Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, we’re inundated with messages about how our daily routines shape who we are.
We all want to be healthier, but it can be hard to find the motivation. Here are five simple habits that will make you feel better both physically and mentally:
Healthy Eating-Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. There are many benefits to eating a healthy diet, including reducing your risk of developing certain diseases and maintaining a healthy weight.
There are several things you can do to eat a healthy diet. First, focus on consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients essential for good health, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can also help you feel full and satisfied after meals, which can help you avoid overeating.
Second, choose healthy protein sources, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and beans. These foods are rich in nutrients essential for good health and can help you feel fuller for longer.
Third, limit your intake of unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats. These types of fat can increase your risk of developing diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Instead, opt for healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocados.
Fourth, limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. These drinks are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. Rather than sugary drinks, opt for water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Finally, make sure to get plenty of exercise. Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight and reducing your risk of developing various diseases. If you don’t currently exercise regularly, start by adding some simple activities to your daily routine, such as taking a brisk walk or riding a bike.
The benefits of regular exercise are well-documented and include everything from improved mental health and increased lifespan to better heart health and brain function. And yet, according to the CDC, only about 20% of adults in the US get the recommended amount of exercise each week.
Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. It can help you prevent or manage many health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
If you’re not already exercising regularly, it’s never too late to start. The key is choosing an enjoyable activity for you—not only will it motivate you to stick with it, but it will also help prevent injuries and burnout.
The best way to get the benefits of regular exercise is to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity) plus two days of strength exercises that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, and back). Every week should include two or three days to build up your activity level.
- I walk to work instead of taking the bus or subway.
- Aerobics class at least twice weekly (or a DVD at home).
- a game of tennis or badminton with friends on Friday evening.
- Swimming laps at your local pool during your lunch break once a week
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Using cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined.
When you smoke, your body slowly begins to break down. Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including about 70 that can cause cancer. These cancer-causing chemicals damage your body’s cells and prevent them from working properly. They also damage the DNA in your cells, which can lead to cancer.
Smoking is linked to many different types of cancer, including lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and cervical cancer. It’s also linked to leukemia and other cancers of the blood. If you smoke cigars or pipe tobacco, you’re also at an increased risk for developing these cancers.
Smoking damages nearly every organ in your body. It raises your risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, and bronchitis. It also increases your risk of several other conditions, such as osteoporosis (weak bones), cataracts (cloudy lenses in your eyes), and rheumatoid arthritis (joint inflammation).
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health—no matter how long you’ve been smoking. You’ll start to see health benefits as soon as you quit smoking and continue to see more over time.
Sleep is a crucial part of your health, and it deserves to be treated as such. This habit can be difficult for some people because they have trouble sleeping or have other obstacles that stand in the way of restful sleep. If you constantly wake up during the night, check out this article on how to get better sleep.
If you’re not sure how much sleep is enough or too much, plenty of online resources can help with that. Here are a few:
- WebMD provides information about how much sleep different age groups need based on their activity levels, what time they wake up in the morning, etc. You can also use their calculator feature to find out whether or not your current schedule will cause problems down the road (such as memory loss).
- Sleepytime gives suggestions based on age groups and categories, like shift workers who need more alert throughout their workday than usual due to erratic schedules. “
Maintain healthy body weight.
Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of heart failure, and losing weight can help reduce this risk. If you are overweight, aim for a 10% reduction in your body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, try to lose 20 pounds.
If you have heart failure, losing 5–10% of your body weight may reduce symptoms and improve exercise tolerance. This is especially important for overweight people when they develop heart failure.
Your body weight measures the amount of fat and lean tissue in your body. It’s calculated by dividing your weight by your height squared (BMI).
If you have a normal BMI, you’re at a healthy weight for your height. You have excess body fat but not too much if you’re overweight. If you’re obese, you have abnormal or excessive body fat.
To maintain a healthy weight:
- Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and high in fiber.
- Choose mostly plant-based proteins, such as legumes (beans), lentils, and chickpeas.
- Eat more nuts, seeds, and unsalted nuts to provide protein and essential fats.
Try something new every day.
“Try something new every day” might sound like a lot to ask, but it’s not that hard. If you can’t think of anything to do, pick up a book or magazine and flip through it. There’s probably at least one thing in there that will spark your interest!
If you’re looking for something more specific, try taking up something like kiteboarding or learning to cook Thai food—both can be done cheaply online (and outside). And if you’re worried about being too old to start something new? Think again: studies show that people who keep learning throughout their lives are happier than those who don’t learn anything new after age 25!
It’s possible to live longer and better by making simple lifestyle changes.
It’s possible to live longer and better by making simple lifestyle changes.
- Eat more vegetables. Studies have shown that people who eat lots of veggies are less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, or stroke. The antioxidants and fiber in fruits and vegetables help you feel full on fewer calories and reduce your risk of diabetes. Add one serving of fruit or vegetables to each meal (or even a snack).
- Be active every day, even if it’s just walking around the block after work or getting off the bus at the next stop so you can walk up one hill instead of two hills back home! Anything counts! Even if it feels like too much effort when you start doing it, within a week or two, you will feel great about sticking with it, encouraging you to keep going!
If you want to live a longer, healthier life, there are plenty of things that you can do. We hope that by reading this article and learning about these five habits, you’ll be inspired to make some positive changes in your own life.
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.