This week the journal Circulation published a new study that has found five healthy habits that can extend lifepsan up to 12 years for men, and 14 years for women, if these habits are adopted by age 50.
What are these healthy habits?
“Adherence to 5 low-risk lifestyle-related factors (never smoking, a healthy weight, regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and moderate alcohol consumption) could prolong life expectancy at age 50 years by 14.0 and 12.2 years for female and male US adults compared with individuals who adopted zero low-risk lifestyle factors.”
The study reviewed the findings from two studies that occurred over a 34 year time frame, and included over 120,000 subjects.
Let’s take a look at these healthy habits in more detail.
- Never smoking – This is a no-brainer. There’s absolutely no health benefits to smoking. And this has been fairly well known for quite some time
- Healthy weight – The study found that maintaining a healthy weight is important for the longest life. What’s a healthy weight? The study defined this as a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2 (“Normal weight”).
- Healthy Diet – A healthy diet was assessed by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) score. The AHEI measures food quality. The AHEI suggests more quality foods – fruits, vegetables, nuts, foods high in omega-3 fats. At the same time it suggests avoiding lower quality foods including red meat, sugar-sweetened foods, alcohol, and more. Find out more about the AHEI.
- Regular Physical Activity – More than 30 minutes per day of moderate or vigorous activities (including brisk walking) that require the expenditure of
at least 3 metabolic equivalents per hour.
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption – Was defined as 5 to 15 grams/day for women and 5 to 30 grams/day for men (not more than 1 or 2 drinks). However, we remind our readers that even moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with cognitive decline. But this doesn’t necessarily impact lifespan.
So, there you go.
Anything surprising or unexpected in there? Not really. But this study helps reinforce the importance of healthy habits – especially at mid-life.
- Yanping Li, An Pan, Dong D. Wang, Xiaoran Liu, Klodian Dhana, Oscar H. Franco, Stephen Kaptoge, Emanuele Di Angelantonio, Meir Stampfer, Walter C. Willett and Frank B. Hu, “Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population“, Circulation. 2018;CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047, originally published April 30, 2018
Tim is the founder of FitAtMidlife.com – an avid gym rat for 30+ years, he’s a reviewer of many, many shoes – and founder of the Speed Bag Gathering – the world’s only gathering of speed bag punching enthusiasts. See more gym reviews at Tim’s YouTube channel.