7 Habits for Longer Life

Most experts agree that increases in lifespan are due to better nutrition, health care, and disease prevention and treatment. Here are some things you can do to stay young. 1. Rest Up: Getting the right amount of sleep is important to health and life span. The problem is figuring out what that right amount really is. In a 2002 study based on the self-reported sleep habits of more than a million people, about seven hours a night produced optimal longevity. Those reporting more than eight hours or less than five hours had, on average, shorter life spans. 2. Eat Right: In a study of 20,000 British participants, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, drinking alcohol moderately, exercising, and not smoking were habits associated with a potential 14 extra years of life. 3. Make Friends: When it comes to longevity, having a network of close pals may be even more important than family. A 10-year study in Australia found that people with large social networks were 22% less likely to die over the following decade than those who having fewer friends.  

4. Use It, Don't Lose It: Your mind and body will wither unless you use them, so it's important to exercise both. There's no sense in living to 100 if you can't remember names or take care of yourself. Keep your brain engaged, and get your body moving. In one Harward study, vigorous exercise extended life span and reduced risk of death.
5. Mind Your Middle: Maintaining a healthy weight and trim waistline may be key to longevity. A recent study by the National institutes of Health found that waist circumference was a strong predictor of mortality. Measurements of more than 44 inches in men or 41 inches in women were associated with 25% higher mortality rates.
6. Get Fresh Air: A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that a reduction in air pollution in cities between 1978 and 2001 was estimated to have increased the lifespan of city-dwellers by five to 10 months, depending on the reduction in event of pollution amount.
7. Make It a Family Thing: In a study of centenarians in the U. S., people who had a 100-year-old brother or sister lived longer than others born in the same year. Men with a centenarian siblings were 17 times as likely to be centenarians themselves. Women were eight times as likely.

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