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Does a Healthy Lifestyle Really Make a Difference in Longevity?

A lot of material has been produced on the topic of longevity. No doubt, more will be published in the years to come as much more is learned about living longer. With all the material and helpful hints about having a longer life already out there, you have to wonder if developing a healthy lifestyle can make a difference in how long you will live.

Studies have revealed that every aspect of a healthy lifestyle you practice helps make a difference in two things: how long you stay healthy after reaching 50 and how long you will live. Since having a longer life is only more attractive if you are healthy enough to enjoy it, it makes sense to add as many healthy lifestyle changes as possible while you are still young. 

Genetics does play a part in your lifespan, but not nearly as much as had once been thought. Now, scientists say that only about 25% to 30% of your lifespan is determined by your genes. The remaining 70% to 75% is determined by environmental and lifestyle habits. By developing the right habits, you may be able to add years to your life. 

One of the most harmful habits is smoking. This one habit can take ten years off your life. It can also cause diseases in nearly any organ in your body. These diseases often cause early death in the elderly. Preventing these diseases from starting in the first place enables you to live longer and have a better quality of life as you age. 

Making lifestyle changes to your diet will also make a difference in your risk of premature death. Depending on the nature of the changes, you could reduce your risk of early death by up to 17 percent. Diets high in sugar are detrimental to good health. A study on dietary lifestyle changes reported that more than 400,000 people could have lived longer if they just improved their diet. 

Starting early – around 20 – with a healthy diet can have the biggest impact on your lifespan. Eating more fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts can enable women to add ten years to their lifespan, and men who start at the same age can add about 13 years. 

Getting regular physical exercise can also increase your longevity. Regular exercise has many benefits that can enable you to live longer. It not only strengthens your immune system but also strengthens your bones and muscles – enabling better balance and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and several types of cancer. You can increase your lifespan by three years if you exercise just 15 minutes daily. 

Getting a good night’s rest every night has also been shown to increase human life expectancy. The primary reason is that more sleep is associated with reduced hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, inflammation, and obesity. It also enables the brain to be cleared better of harmful proteins that cause Alzheimer’s and dementia while you sleep.

Reducing stress will also help you live longer. Take time to calm your nerves and relax by going for a walk, taking breaks, breathing deeply, and journaling. The stress hormone – cortisol – is behind many health complications that can shorten your life. 

Starting as soon as you can to develop these healthy lifestyle habits can mean a healthier and longer life. Practice them for at least 40 days before they become a habit. Although you will likely have to get accustomed to the changes, you will be glad you did in your senior years.

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