Home Health Eight Habits to Take Up by Age 40 if You Want to Live Decades Longer

Eight Habits to Take Up by Age 40 if You Want to Live Decades Longer

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Eight Habits to Take Up by Age 40 if You Want to Live Decades Longer

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Researchers who studied the lifestyles of 700,000 Americans found men who had adopted all eight by age 40 lived around 24 years longer than those who had none.

Women who did so lived 21 years longer, according to the findings.

The eight habits are: being physically active, being free from opioid addiction, not smoking, managing stress, having a good diet, not regularly binge drinking, having good sleep hygiene, and having positive social relationships.

While literally not one of those is likely to surprise any individual who has taken even a single cursory glance at a recommendation for how to improve their health, 24 years does encapsulate the importance of basic, well-researched habits.

“We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors,” said study author Dr Xuan-Mai Nguyen, of the Department of Veterans Affairs at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, emphasizing exactly that point.

“Our research findings suggest… the earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial.”

The team used data from medical records and questionnaires collected between 2011-2019 from 719,147 people enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program.

The analysis included data from adults aged 40-99 and included 33,375 deaths during follow-up.

Low physical activity, opioid use, and smoking had the biggest impact on lifespan with around a 30% to 45% higher risk of death.

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Stress, binge drinking, poor diet, and poor sleep hygiene were each associated with around a 20% increase in the risk of death.

A lack of positive social relationships was only associated with a 5% increase.

The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, Massachusetts, emphasize the role of lifestyle factors in contributing to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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“Lifestyle medicine is aimed at treating the underlying causes of chronic diseases rather than their symptoms,” said Dr. Nguyen. “It provides a potential avenue for altering the course of ever-increasing health care costs resulting from prescription medicine and surgical procedures.”

Nguyen stressed that it is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which is even true for those who are already living healthy lifestyles. In a multi-faceted lifestyle intervention trial on healthy middle-aged men, just 8 weeks of a few targeted lifestyle alterations, such as deep-breathing exercises and a phytonutrient supplement, were able to shed 3 biological years of their clocks.

 



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