We all want to live rich, long and healthy lives. But how can we do that? Over the long years of recorded history, a lot of attempts have been made by several people to discover the secret to longevity. Some say that you can live longer with religion, some believe that it is futile and you cannot actually control the length of your life and the quality of it.
However, researchers today are saying that they've found a way to add at least a decade to your lifespan. How, you may be wondering. Is it a potion, a drug, some ritual or what? Well, it's simple really. Studies have found that healthy lifestyle habits can, simply put, make you live longer.
Who would have thought?
Apparently, consistently making the right choices with regards to your health and lifestyle can increase your life expectancy without diseases. Of course, there have been a lot of research on the dangers of terrible health choices.
We know that habits like smoking, eating too much junk food, getting obese, and not getting enough exercise can have terrible effects on the health of individuals. However, only a few studies have tried to find out the effects of good lifestyle choices on age. Researchers have started to explore the relationship between healthy lifestyles and a long life without diseases.
Now, these studies aren't just based on the relationship that exists between adopting a healthy lifestyle and life expectancy. Instead, they are based on the relationship between lifestyle choices and life expectancy free of chronic diseases. So we aren't just talking about life span here, we are talking about healthspan.
The Big Five Factors
To carry out this research, experts analyzed data from over 73,000 registered female nurses in the United States and over 40,000 male health professionals. None of these participants was suffering from cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes when they were enrolled.
Then researchers routinely accessed the participants and checked for signs of these diseases in them. The study adjusted for important factors like age, sex and family history.
There are five "low-risk" lifestyle factors that are used to calculate a healthy lifestyle score. These factors include:
Abstinence from smoking
Frequent exercise (at least thirty minutes of physical activity per day)
Little or no alcohol intake
The maintenance of a moderate BMI— that is BMI that is less than 25
Eating good food (quality and balanced diets)
Culminated, these factors give a final score of 5 from 0. The closer to five a person's "low-risk" score is, the healthier they are.
Basically, if you've managed to keep to these five simple lifestyle choices, you stand the chance of being less susceptible to diseases that can shorten your life spans like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. If you want to live longer and want to be free from these diseases, these are the big five lifestyles that you must look to adopt.
Living Longer, Living Better
So what did the research show? Well, for one, years of a life free of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes at age fifty for women who adopted four of these lifestyle changes was 34 years. For women who did not adopt any of these changes, life expectancy free from these diseases was 24 years.
For 50-year old men who followed or adopted none of these lifestyles, the life expectancy was 24 years. For men who adopted four of these factors, the life expectancy was 31 years.
So it's clear— you can live quite longer if you adopt these simple habits.
What is the most common cause of death in the world? Hypertension. These lifestyle choices, such as eating better, exercising more and reducing alcohol intake can affect this diagnosis in a lot of different ways.
What You Eat Is Important.
Out of the big five, watching what you eat is probably the most important. Food items that are rich in fibre have been proven to be great for cardiovascular health because of the great benefits that they provide. Not only fibre, but legumes like beans and peas have shown to significantly lower the risk of health diseases.
Importantly, people who want to eat healthily and stay healthy just learn to avoid food that with high sugar content, sodium, salt, and saturated fat content. If you're someone with a high level of cholesterol, it is even more important that you avoid these types of food.
What Smoking And Obesity Does To You
According to studies, obese women ( these are defined as women with 30 BMI or higher) have the smallest chances of a disease-free life expectancy at fifty.
Obese people generally run more risks of cardiovascular problems than non-obese people. In trying to lose this weight, obese people shouldn't just make appropriate adjustments to their diets— they should do the same to their daily routine. Getting a desk bike or an under desk bike will certainly go a long way in helping them lose weight.
What Does This Mean?
This means that if you're obese, alcoholic, or a smoker, you are actively taking off disease-free years off of your lifespan.
To add years to your lifespan, you have a simple decision to make— adopt healthy lifestyles.