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5 Things You Can Do To Live 14 Years Longer

Andrew Merle

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Harvard researchers conducted a huge study to determine how lifestyle habits influence life expectancy. The research analyzed data from more than 120,000 people over 34 years.

The findings revealed that 5 specific lifestyle habits help you live much longer. Incorporating all 5 of the habits at age 50 was associated with living 14 years longer for women and 12 years longer for men. Here are the 5 habits:

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Defined as eating more foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats (from foods like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds), and omega-3 fats (i.e. from fish), and less unhealthy foods such as processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks, trans fat, and added salt.

2. Do Regular Physical Activity

This one is pretty simple — defined as doing an average of 30+ minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.

3. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Defined as having a normal body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. Calculate your BMI here.

4. Don’t Smoke

This means you have never been a smoker.

5. Moderate Alcohol Intake

This one is a bit more nuanced. It is measured as between 5–15 grams per day for women and 5–30 grams per day for men. A typical drink contains about 14 grams of alcohol (e.g. 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits). So it equates to up to 1 drink per day for women, 2 for men.

If you maintain all 5 of these habits by age 50, you can expect to live to 93 if you’re a woman and 88 if you’re a man.

However, if you do none of these habits, the data shows you’re far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

But it isn’t all or nothing. Just one healthy habit — and it didn’t matter which one — extended life expectancy by 2 years in men and women.

These 5 habits are actionable and practical to implement. If you have never smoked, you’re already 1/5 of the way there.

Make it a goal to check off all 5 boxes — ideally by the time you’re 50 — and you can look forward to living over a decade longer.

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Andrew Merle

Follow me for stories about health, fitness, and nutrition. Read more at andrewmerle.com. Contact me at andrew.merle@gmail.com