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8 Habits to Lengthen Your Life Up to 24 Years, Says New Study

Incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle can help you live longer, says science.

It is no secret that your overall health habits impact longevity. Generally speaking, the healthier you are, the more likely you are to live longer. If you knew exactly what habits would improve your chances of living longer, would you incorporate them into your routine? Researchers claim they have narrowed down a list of eight habits that can help you live more than 20 years longer. The research looked at lifestyle habits using data from medical records and questionnaires collected between 2011-2019 from 719,147 people enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program and was presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. It claims that men with all eight habits at age 40 should live an average of 24 years longer than men with none of these habits and for women, an additional 21 years.

Increase Physical Activity

three hikers walk on a grassy trail

According to the study, low physical activity was associated with a 30-45% higher risk of death. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Avoid Using Opiods


Opioids are notorious as a leading cause of death. According to this latest research, those who use them have a 30-45% higher risk of death. 

Don't Smoke


Smoking is one of the more unsurprising threats to longevity with a 30-45% higher risk of death. Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths, says the CDC

Avoid Stress


Per the study there is a 20% increase in the risk of death for those who experience a lot of stress. The CDC adds that stress can cause the following:

  • Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration.
  • Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests.
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions.
  • Nightmares or problems sleeping.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, or skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems and mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of alcohol, illegal drugs (like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine), and misuse of prescription drugs (like opioids).

Just Say No to Binge Eating

Woman eating croissant with open mouth.

Binge eating is hazardous for your health, the study says, equating to a 20% increase in the risk of death

Improve Your Diet


Those with a poor diet have a 20% increase in the risk of death. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 a healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
  • Is low in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
  • Stays within your daily calorie needs

Improve Sleep Hygiene


Poor sleep hygiene was associated with a 20% increase in the risk of death. A third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep, reports the CDC. "Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression—that threaten our nation's health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, which cause a lot of injury and disability each year," they say. 

Make Friends


A lack of positive social relationships was associated with a 5% increased risk of dying. There are lots of studies that have found a link between a healthy social life and longevity, especially for older people. 


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