Are you looking to increase your lifespan by up to 24 years? Well, according to a groundbreaking new study on US veterans, all you need to do is incorporate eight healthy lifestyle choices into your daily routine starting at age 40.

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But what if you're a late bloomer and don't start until age 50? No worries! The study found that even at this later stage, you could still potentially prolong your life by a remarkable 21 years. And if you begin at age 60, you'll still gain a remarkable 18 years of precious life by adopting these healthy habits.

Healthy Habits Study

Lead study author Xuan-Mai Nguyen, a health science specialist for the Million Veteran Program at the VA Boston Healthcare System, explained that there is a 20-year window in which you can make these positive changes. Whether you choose to make gradual adjustments or embrace them all at once, the benefits are still substantial.

Nguyen emphasized that the earlier you start, the better, but even making a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s can have a significant impact. This means that improving your lifestyle and extending your lifespan is not an unattainable goal. It is something that the general population can realistically achieve.

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Changing A Man's Life

In fact, just incorporating one healthy behavior into a man's life at age 40 can add an extra 4.5 years of life. Adding a second habit leads to a staggering seven additional years, and embracing three healthy habits prolongs a man's life by 8.6 years. As the number of positive changes increases, so does the overall benefit, with men potentially gaining nearly 25 years of extra life.

Changing A Woman's Life

Women also experienced significant increases in lifespan. Adopting just one healthy behavior added an impressive 3.5 years while incorporating two healthy habits led to eight additional years. Embracing three healthy choices extended a woman's life by an astounding 12.6 years. And of course, adopting all eight healthy habits resulted in the greatest benefit, potentially increasing a woman's lifespan by an incredible 22.6 years.

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All 8 Habits

Nguyen highlighted that the study showed a synergistic effect when all eight habits were implemented simultaneously, providing an extra boost to extend one's life. However, she stressed that even making small changes can make a substantial difference.

This study also identified the eight lifestyle behaviors that had the greatest impact on longevity. These behaviors can serve as a guide for individuals who are looking to make positive changes in their lives and reap the benefits of an extended lifespan.

So why wait? Start incorporating these healthy habits into your life and begin the journey towards a longer and more fulfilling existence. Remember, it's never too late to make a change and unlock the potential for additional years of happiness and well-being.

Here are the eight things you need to do . . .

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#1 Exercise.

Exercise is at the top of the list when it comes to improving health, according to experts. Research suggests that incorporating just one healthy habit can decrease the risk of death from any cause by 46% compared to those who do not exercise. A study examined the levels of light, moderate, and vigorous activity in relation to a sedentary lifestyle. Surprisingly, it was found that individuals who engaged in 7.5 metabolic equivalent hours of exercise per week had a longer lifespan. To put this into perspective, if you can walk up a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath, you have already completed four minutes of the recommended 7.5 hours.

These findings reinforce previous studies that demonstrate how exercise does not have to be extreme or involve intense sports to reap the benefits. However, it is important to note that engaging in activities that make you lose your breath will provide the best outcomes for your health.

 

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#2  Don't get hooked on opioids or pain pills.

Avoiding addiction to opioids was identified as the second most crucial factor in prolonging one's life, decreasing the chances of premature mortality by a notable 38%, as stated in the research. In light of the current dire circumstances, with the United States grappling with a severe opioid crisis deemed a nationwide "public health emergency" by a sector operating under the Department of Health and Human Services, this finding holds immense significance.

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#3  Don't smoke.

Abstaining from tobacco can diminish the risk of death by an astounding 29%. Delving further into the details, it became evident that even if someone had previously succumbed to the clutches of smoking, their redemption didn't factor into the equation. However, stopping smoking at any point in life confers major health benefits, experts say.

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#4  Manage your stress.

According to the study, effectively handling stress can lower the risk of premature death by a staggering 22%. Health professionals are increasingly concerned about the prevalence of stress in the United States, which can have disastrous effects on well-being. However, fear not, as there are methods to completely transform your perspective on stress and convert the negative impact into a positive force.

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#5  Eat a mostly plant-based diet.

Adopting a plant-centric eating regimen has been proven to heighten your likelihood of experiencing an extended lifespan by a staggering 21%, as unveiled by the study. Nonetheless, do not fret, for it does not necessarily imply that you must strictly adhere to the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Rather, embracing a nourishing plant-focused regime such as the esteemed Mediterranean diet brimming with wholesome grains and verdant, nutrient-packed vegetables is the crux of the matter.

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#6  Avoid binge drinking.

Embracing a lifestyle free from the clutches of binge drinking has been deemed crucial for maintaining good health. According to Nguyen, consuming more than four alcoholic beverages in a single day elevates the risk of premature death by a staggering 19%. This worrisome trend of binge drinking is unfortunately on the rise in the United States, with college students no longer being the sole culprits. Startlingly, even individuals who identify as moderate drinkers are now vulnerable to its detrimental effects, as studies have revealed.

Further research suggests that the perils of excessive alcohol consumption may extend beyond the confines of binge drinking. In fact, these studies show that any level of drinking may be injurious to one's health, barring perhaps, a protective effect against heart attacks and strokes, though even this finding has been met with skepticism. It has been found that even indulging in a single drink has the potential to trigger an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

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#7  Get enough sleep.

Ensuring a sufficient amount of sleep, ranging from seven to nine hours a night and free from any signs of insomnia, was found to lower the risk of early mortality by 18%, as stated by Nguyen. Numerous investigations have established a correlation between inadequate sleep and a wide array of adverse health consequences, such as untimely death.

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#8  Have friends and maintain good social relationships.

In a groundbreaking study, researchers discovered that the power of positive social relationships can extend our lives by a remarkable 5%. The warmth and support we receive from our loved ones have an incredible impact on our overall well-being. However, the dark cloud of loneliness and isolation is steadily growing, particularly among older individuals, and experts are sounding the alarm bells.

“Five percent may seem small, but that’s still a decrease in terms of all-cause mortality,” Nguyen said. “Every little bit helps, whether you pick physical activity or make sure you’re surrounded by positive social support.”

A recent study revealed that those who experience social isolation face a daunting 32% higher risk of premature death from any cause, in comparison to their socially connected counterparts. This statistic highlights the critical importance of maintaining meaningful relationships in our lives. Additionally, participants who expressed feelings of loneliness were saddled with a 14% increased likelihood of early mortality compared to those who did not share the same sentiment.

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