Most people want to live longer, not shorter. Yet how we treat our bodies would suggest that we want to die sooner in poor health. It can be difficult to quantify how much our bad habits affect our life and how long we will live, but a new study from Harvard shows that you can extend your life by around ten years simply by following healthy habits. Not only are these habits basic, they are relatively easy to stick to. According to the study, following five health habits by the time you are 50 can extend your life for a decade or longer by holding off diseases.
Harvard’s Lifestyle & Life Expectancy Study
Conducting a study of more than 110,000 participants over 34 years, the researchers concluded simple figures about life expectancy and health. They say that they have discovered people who eat well, exercise, stay at a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking or drinking managed to live without cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type two diabetes for much longer. These are simple habits anyone can adapt, but they have a large impact on your life. While men and women are different, the years that were added on to their lives were significant.
Lifespan of Men & Women
Men and women who adhered to the habits saw their life expectancy rising from 26 to 38 years for men and 29 to 43 years for women. This is an extra 12 and 14 years respectively and these years were spent in good health. Men gained seven years longer expectancy and women gained 10 years of good health, both holding off chronic diseases.
According to the experts at the site MoneyPug, which is known for being a platform to find the best life insurance, women maintained all five habits by the age of 50 could live to 84 years before succumbing to any of the above illnesses. Of course this is compared to women who followed none of these habits. The study showed that they would develop at least one of the three diseases by the age of 73.
On the other hand, men who did not follow healthy habits developed one of these conditions by the same age, 73, but seven months earlier. Men don’t typically live as long as women, they could live until 81 if they followed the recommended habits.
Frequency of Studies
While there has been a decent amount of studies involving healthy lifestyles, there have been few studies looking at the effects of lifestyle factors on life expectancy free from diseases. The study from Harvard appears to show strong evidence on the number of years a person can extend their life by if they follow the basic habits. There have been scientific breakthroughs on the subject of lifespan, but some have not always focused on health span, which is the healthy life people live before old age.
The study used the Alternate Healthy Eating Index to determine how much people should be active. According to the index, people should regularly exercise at least 30 minutes a day. They found a healthy weight by using Body Mass Index (BMI). Moderate alcohol intake was the recommended 175ml of wine a day for women and twice that for men. Smoking has a large effect on chronic diseases, of course, but there are not many studies looking at how the combination of lifestyle factors may relate to life expectancy and ability to live free of disease. The people with the lowest life expectancy were men who smoked 15 or more cigarettes each day and obese men and women who had a BMI over 30.
It doesn’t matter if you are fat or skinny, everyone can improve their health by eating better, exercising more, and refraining from using tobacco and alcohol. It is quite simple, and the Harvard study shows us how basic it really is. Live better and you will live longer. It can be difficult to know how much these habits have an impact on our lives, but with studies looking specifically at our health and habits we can become motivated to live healthier lives. It’s not like you will regret it.