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8 Habits That Could Add 24 Years to Your Life, Study Says

Unlock the secret to longevity.

While doctors (and many of their patients) continue to search for the fountain of youth, other scientists may have discovered the formula for a significantly longer life. According to a new study, adopting eight habits could extend your life by up to 24 years—more than an entire generation.

What Was The Study?


In research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, researchers found that men who had adopted all eight habits by middle age lived 24 years longer than men whose lifestyle included few or none of the habits. The study was based on data from nearly 720,000 U.S. veterans 40 and older, which is considered a nationally representative sample. Read on for the eight life-extending habits.

Not Smoking


Tobacco doesn't just increase your risk for lung cancer, the #1 cause of preventable death in America. Tobacco smoke can damage the heart and walls of arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. "The nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure, and the carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry," says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inhaling secondhand smoke also puts you at risk.  

Being Physically Active


The CDC defines being physically active as anything that gets your body moving. According to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, each week, adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity.

Managing Stress

man stressed out and depressed on public transportation.

When you're stressed, the brain increases its production of the hormone cortisol, which impairs infection-fighting T cells in the blood. Stress might play a role in the development of heart disease, the American Heart Association says. People who experience chronic stress are more prone to the common cold and viral infections, according to the American Cancer Society

Eating A Healthy Diet

young woman buying salad

"Diets high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol have been linked to stroke and related conditions, such as heart disease," says the CDC. "Adults who eat a healthy diet live longer and have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Healthy eating can help people with chronic diseases manage these conditions and prevent complications."

Having Good Sleep Hygiene


"Strong sleep hygiene means having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep," says the National Sleep Foundation. "Keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable and free of disruptions, following a relaxing pre-bed routine, and building healthy habits during the day can all contribute to ideal sleep hygiene." Experts recommend getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.

Avoiding Binge Drinking


Drinking alcohol to excess can imperil your health, whether you're 21 or 81. Experts define binge drinking as having four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more on one occasion for men. To stay healthy, experts recommend moderate drinking, meaning no more than one daily drink for women and two for men. 

Not Being Addicted To Opioids


Since 1999, more than a million people died from drug overdoses in America. In the last year, overdoses claimed 107,669 people, and the crisis is accelerating.

Having Positive Social Relationships


In recent years, scientists have discovered that social isolation is a major health risk. Studies have found that loneliness seems to cause an inflammatory stress response throughout the body. Over time, that can wear down your heart, brain and immune system. According to a study published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, "The resulting long-term inflammation may represent a key mechanism in the development of loneliness-associated chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, and neurodegeneration." Maintaining positive social relationships slashes those risks.

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Do All Eight for the Most Benefits


Overall, people who adopted all eight were 13 percent less likely to die for any reason during the study period of about eight years, scientists said. The more healthy habits the participants adopted, the more their mortality rate declined. 

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