How to live 20 years longer: scientists' explanation

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Researchers have named eight habits that will make life not only longer, but also more active

Living a long, active and healthy life is a dream for most of us. And research shows that we can do a lot to make it a reality.

According to the Guardian, scientists have compiled a list of eight habits that can extend life by as much as 20 years or more. Ideally, you should introduce these habits before reaching middle age, but they will benefit, at whatever age you do not start to implement them.

Health care professional Xuan-Mai T Nguyen, who is involved with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said. "The earlier the better, but even if you make a small change in your 40s, 50s or 60s, it will still be beneficial," she said. The expert explained that each individual's healthy lifestyle will be good for them personally and for public health.

Here's a list of those habits:

  • Proper nutrition;
  • smoking cessation;
  • quality sleep;
  • adequate physical activity;
  • stress management;
  • avoiding heavy alcohol use;
  • not being dependent on opioids;
  • having positive social connections with others

The study, reported by Nguyen, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston. Its authors analyzed data from questionnaires and medical records collected between 2011 and 2019. The records covered more than 700,000 U.S. military veterans between the ages of 40 and 99. All were participants in the Million Veterans Program. Of those, 33,375 died during the study period.

Nguyen and her colleagues examined information about these individuals to determine what habits were associated with increased longevity. It turned out that there was a clear pattern for eight habits. Even introducing one had a positive impact, and combining several was even more beneficial.

"Men and women who adopted eight therapeutic lifestyle factors were able to increase life expectancy by 23.7 or 22.6 years, respectively, at age 40 years compared to those who did not adopt any lifestyle factors," the authors wrote in their study.

According to their analysis, low physical activity, opioid drug use, and smoking reduced life expectancy the most. Participants with these lifestyle factors had a 30-45% higher risk of dying during the study than other subjects. Stress, excessive alcohol consumption, poor sleep hygiene and poor nutrition increased this risk by about 20%.

The authors noted that their work was observational in nature. Therefore, they cannot claim that the correlations they derived show a direct causal relationship with lifestyle. Professor Naveed Sattar, a cardiovascular and metabolic disease expert at the University of Glasgow who was not involved in the study, also cautioned that the study did not include a trial and therefore many factors may make the conclusions less accurate.

Still, Sattar spoke favorably of his colleagues' work. "These data add to the notion that our lifestyle matters as much, if not more, than the medications we receive to prevent or treat numerous chronic diseases," he said. And he added that helping people adopt healthy habits can reduce the costs of chronic disease management and help them live more enjoyable and productive lives.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL told about a simple exercise that will help to extend life. It will not need any additional equipment.

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