8 Habits you need to live 20 years longer

Certain habits can significantly extend your lifespan in a world where longevity is increasingly valued.

Research presented at last year’s American Society for Nutrition annual meeting suggests that incorporating eight critical practices into your lifestyle could extend your life by up to 20 years.

Let’s explore these habits and how they contribute to longevity [1].

1. Eat a balanced diet

Rather than adhering to strict diets, focus on consuming various nutrient-rich foods. Prioritize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. 

This approach ensures your body receives essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, supporting overall health and longevity.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Strive to maintain a body weight within a healthy range for height and build. Excess weight, particularly around the waist, is linked to various health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers [2]. 

Managing your weight reduces the risk of these conditions and increases your chances of living longer.

3. Stay physically active

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days. Walking, swimming, or cycling improve cardiovascular health, enhance mood, reduce stress and contribute to a healthier life.

4. Limit alcohol consumption

While moderate alcohol intake may have some health benefits, excessive drinking is associated with numerous health risks, including liver disease, heart problems and certain cancers. To promote longevity, limit alcohol consumption to moderate levels or abstain altogether.

5. Don’t smoke

Smoking is one of the most significant contributors to premature death and chronic disease. Quitting smoking or never starting dramatically improves life expectancy by reducing the risk of lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

6. Prioritize sleep

Quality sleep is essential for overall wellbeing and longevity. Aim for seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night, as inadequate sleep is linked to various health issues, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and a relaxing bedtime routine can improve sleep quality and promote longevity.

7. Manage stress

Chronic stress can damage mental and physical health, increasing the risk of numerous diseases and shortening lifespan. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises and engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy. 

Cultivating a positive outlook and maintaining strong social connections can also help mitigate stress and promote longevity.

8. Stay connected

Social isolation is a significant risk factor for premature death, comparable to smoking and obesity [3]. Cultivate meaningful relationships with friends, family and community members to enhance social support and combat loneliness. 

Regular social interactions improve mental and emotional wellbeing and provide a longer, more fulfilling life.

By incorporating these eight habits into your daily life, you can significantly increase your chances of living a longer, healthier and more vibrant life.

While individual genetics play a role in longevity, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and social connections profoundly impact overall health and lifespan. Embrace these habits as part of your lifestyle and reap the rewards of a longer, more fulfilling life.

[1] https://nutrition.org/these-eight-habits-could-lengthen-your-life-by-decades/
[2] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/health-risks
[3] https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.