8 habits that can add 20+ years to your life, according to a new study

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It’s clear now more than ever that living longer is heavily influenced by lifestyle choices like diet and exercise, but a recent unpublished study found that certain habits can add more than 20 extra years to your life.

The research presented last month at American Society for NutritionThe annual meeting found that practicing eight healthy habits at age 40 was associated with an extra 24 years of life for men.

Women saw similar benefits from incorporating the practice into their lives by age 40, with 21 extra years added to their lives.

“We were really surprised by how much could be achieved with the adoption of one, two, three or all eight lifestyle factors,” said Xuan-Mai Nguyen, lead author and health science specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, in -a Press release.

“The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s or 60s, it’s still beneficial.”

The eight habits, listed in order, starting with the greatest impact on longevity, include:

  1. Coach
  2. Not being addicted to opioids
  3. Avoid smoking
  4. Managing your stress level
  5. Adherence to a healthy diet
  6. Not binge drinking
  7. Prioritizing good sleep
  8. Maintaining positive social relationships

Even adding just one of the habits to their routine appeared to add 4.5 or 3.5 more years of life for men and women, respectively. Just two of the behaviors added seven extra years of life for men and eight extra years for women.

The observational study examined the lifestyle choices of more than 700,000 US military veterans aged 40 to 99, all participants in a year-long study called Million Veteran Program.

Lack of physical activity, opioid use and smoking had the biggest impact on lifespan, with a 30% to 45% increased risk of death, the study found.

“Stress, overeating, poor diet, and poor sleep hygiene were each associated with about a 20% increase in the risk of death, and a lack of positive social relationships was associated with a 5% increased risk of death.” release states.

Participants also saw increases when they added the healthy habits in their 50s and 60s, Nguyen said: “It’s never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”

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