Harvard Says Doing These 5 Things Will Extend Your Life

And by more than a decade!

Recent research into longevity has found that your personality traits have a big impact on how long you'll live. A study of 29 elderly people in a remote village in southern Italy where residents routinely live to be older than 90 found that stubbornness and positivity were one of the four traits that help people live longer. And an extraordinary new assessment of the U.S. States where people live the longest has discovered that your location plays a major role in your lifespan, too.

Ultimately, however, the biggest factor in determining your longevity is your lifestyle. Now, a comprehensive new study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in the journal Circulation, has identified the five major habits that are guaranteed to add an extra 12.1 years for men and an extra 14 years for the women, based on the health records of 44,354 men and 78,865 women. Those who maintained these habits were found to be 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer than those who didn't, so they're pretty crucial.

So read on to find out what lifestyle choices are crucial to making it to old age. And for more amazing health news, check out the Secret Benefit of Having Wrinkles. 

Working Out for At Least 30 Minutes a Day

woman working out Being Single in your thirties

If hitting the treadmill isn't your thing, don't worry. An increasing amount of research says that walking can be a great boost to longevity, especially in older age groups.

A recent study  found that walking for just 40 minutes several times per week reduces the risk of heart failure in post-menopausal women by a whopping 25 percent. Another recent study found that walking at a brisk pace can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Some research has even found that longer, less strenuous workouts are more effective in prolonging longevity than high-intensity cardio.

Maintaining a Healthy BMI

woman measuring tape weight loss

As great as the body positivity movement is, it's important to remember that maintaining a BMI within the range of 18.5 to 25 is important for your health, not your looks. The Internet's reaction to President Trump's alleged weight and height does add credence to the belief that muscle really is more dense than fat, but unless you're a professional body-builder, your BMI remains the best evaluation of your health in relation to how much you weigh.

Eating a Good Diet

habits after 40

What constitutes "good" is a matter of debate these days (though we can safely say the Snake Diet isn't on there). But whether you go vegan or paleo—or do the keto diet or intermittent fasting—health experts tend to agree that a diet low on sugar and carbs and high in plants and fish will boost your longevity, which is why the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the secrets to Italian healthy living. If you want to adopt a personalized diet, you might want to try getting a DNA test.

Drinking a Moderate Amount of Alcohol

never overpay for wine

The study defines "moderate" as 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women and up to two glasses for men. This corroborates with previous studies that have found that drinking low levels of alcohol has significant health benefits, especially for the brain. It also lines up with the advice given by one 102-year-old Italian woman who said that they key to longevity was "two fingers width of red wine, and no more, at lunchtime every day."

Duh. Not Smoking

quitting smoking gets rid of wrinkles

This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of people still believe that having a cigarette with a drink every so often can't hurt. Social smokers should therefore bear in mind that recent studies have found that even one cigarette a day can shorten your lifespan.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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