It all boils down to a long, healthy life. That’s what we all want. We want to look young and feel young for as long as possible. According to OrbisResearch.com, in 2016 the anti-aging market was a $250 billion dollar business and was expected to grow to $330 billion by 2021. It’s pretty obvious that staying young is a priority for many but before you start dabbling with anti-aging creams and treatments, you might want to consider the less expensive and more effective method to longevity that we’ll discuss here.
Dr. Nedra Belloc and Dr. Lester Breslow were among the first to research the effects of lifestyle on longevity. In their landmark study that involved 7,000 participants from Alameda County, California, they found seven lifestyle factors that influence how long people lived.
The seven lifestyle factors for increased longevity
- Sleeping seven to eight hours a night
- No eating between meals
- Eating breakfast regularly
- Maintaining proper weight
- Exercising regularly
- Moderate or no drinking of alcohol
- Not smoking
The participants that were of similar age—around 60 or so. During the study, they were surveyed on how many of these factors they included in their lifestyle. Nine years later, the study followed up to see who was still alive and which factors influenced longevity the most.
Of those that had practiced three or less of the above lifestyle habits, 12-20% had passed away. In comparison, only 5.5% of participants who practiced all seven lifestyle habits had passed away.
Find out your health age
Another way to internalize these findings is through what is called your “health age”. Your health age is your physiological age, or the age of your body compared to a normal functioning human at a certain age.
So, let’s say that you’re 50 years old but you practice a lot of positive lifestyle habits. Because of your healthy lifestyle, your health age might be 15 years less than your actual age. Health-wise, you might be looking and feeling 35 rather than 50! On the other hand, there might be another 50-year old who has some negative lifestyle habits. This may lead to them having a much higher health age, even as high as 72 years old.
Your lifestyle has the greatest impact on your longevity
Often, we think that getting a disease or living to a certain age depends on our genetics. But, again and again, it’s been shown that the way we live affects our longevity the most. Simple things can make a big difference. The vast majority of America’s top killers—heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung disease—are related to lifestyle. This means that we can often combat these killers, simply by changing some lifestyle habits.
Prevention is the best medicine
Studies have shown that many of the leading causes of death are preventable. Regardless of your age, you will experience tremendous benefits just by incorporating the seven factors that the Alameda Study Identified. As you put these habits into practice, you may begin to not only see the difference, but also feel the difference that a healthy lifestyle can make.
Do you want to gauge your risk for developing a lifestyle-related disease? Take this short quiz and find out.