Human beings could add years to their lives with just a handful of healthy habits, a large, new study suggests.
Right now, the typical 50-year-old can expect to live another 30 to 33 years, according to government statistics. But based on the new study, those who maintain five lifestyle habits could add roughly a decade to that life expectancy.
The key factors include the usual suspects: not smoking; eating healthy; exercising regularly; maintaining a normal weight; and drinking only in moderation.
But researchers said the new findings put those lifestyle choices in a different perspective.
“Our findings have significant public health implications, because they demonstrate the great potential of diet and lifestyle changes in improving life expectancy,” said senior researcher Dr. Frank Hu. He is chair of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, agreed.
“These five things can empower every one of us to make a huge difference,” she said.
The habits are also realistic, Steinbaum noted. For example, moderate exercise — such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day — was enough.
“That isn’t a crazy amount of exercise,” Steinbaum said. “It doesn’t require you to join a gym.”
After all, How much exercise does your heart really need Unfortunately, few of us stick to that magic five.
According to Hu’s team, only 8 percent of adults in recent years have met all five goals.