Eight healthy habits to help you live up to 24 years longer revealed by scientists

24 July 2023, 16:09

Exercise, friendships and a good night sleep are among the healthy habits for a long life
Exercise, friendships and a good night sleep are among the healthy habits for a long life. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Eight healthy habits that could lengthen your life by up to 24 years have been revealed by scientists.

Not smoking, having a good diet, sleeping well and managing stress are among the habits uncovered in the major US study.

They also included being physically active, having positive social relationships with other people, not regularly binge drinking and avoiding addiction to opioid drugs.

Women with all eight of these habits at the age of 40 could live an average of 21 years longer than women with none of the habits while men with all eight habits, compared to those with zero, could expect to live 24 years longer on average.

The findings come from almost 720,000 military veterans in the US, who filled out questionnaires on their lifestyle and whose medical records were analysed.

Dr Xuan-Mai Nguyen, lead author of the study from Carle Illinois College of Medicine, said: "We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors.

"Our research findings suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for both public health and personal wellness.

"The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial."

Friendships is among the healthy habits for a longer live, scientists say
Friendships is among the healthy habits for a longer live, scientists say. Picture: Alamy

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Overall, the results showed keeping physically active, not smoking and not being addicted to opioid drugs had the biggest impact on lifespan.

These reduced the risk of death by 46 percent for being active, 29 percent for non-smokers, and 38 percent for those without an opioid problem.

Minimizing stress, having a good diet, not being a binge drinker and having good sleeping habits were linked to around a 20 percent reduction in the risk of dying.

The smallest effect was seen for people with positive social relationships, but this was linked to about a five percent reduction in the likelihood of dying during the study.

Dr Nguyen, a scientist for the Million Veteran Programme, said: "Healthy lifestyle habits can prevent the underlying causes of chronic diseases, which could help people to live them to live longer, until their eighties rather than their sixties.

"It could save the health service money for drugs and treatment."

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