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How to live longer: Two lifestyle factors you must avoid if you want to boost longevity
With the current difficult times we are all facing, doing all we can to keep ourselves as healthy as possible is on the forefront of most minds. Often finding ways to boost longevity can become confusing with much conflicting advice. According to studies, two major factors will significantly affect a person’s life expectancy – smoking and lack of exercise, with alcohol consumption and diet followed closely.
A study has found that not smoking and exercising regularly can help to boost longevity and add six to eight years to life, even in those with chronic illnesses.
Scientists from Leicester university has found that not smoking is associated with the largest health boost, followed by exercising, a healthy diet and not drinking alcohol.
The study looked at 480,000 adults from UK Biobank which is a database of the genetic and health information of over half a million people and tracked them for at least six years.
The scientists assessed the presence of 36 chronic conditions and delved into whether a healthy lifestyle impacted life expectancy.
Researchers scored participants on how much they exercised and drank, whether they smoked and how healthy their diet was before rating their overall healthiness.
In men with two or more chronic conditions, a ‘very healthy’ score was linked to living for an extra 6.3 years.
A “healthy” score could add 4.5 years.
“Very healthy” women could expect to gain up to 7.6 years, and 6.4 years for “healthy”.
At 45 years old, smokers had an estimated five to six years shorter life expectancy compared to non-smokers.
The scientists say their findings, published in PLOS Medicine, suggest adopting a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of long-term illnesses can benefit those who already have chronic conditions.
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In a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, smoking, physical inactivity and obesity as predictors of healthy and disease-free life expectancy was investigated.
The study noted: “Smoking, physical inactivity and obesity are modifiable risk factors for morbidity and mortality.
“The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which the co-occurrence of these behaviour-related risk factors predict healthy life expectancy and chronic disease-free life expectancy in four European cohort studies.
“Compared with men and women with at least two behaviour-related risk factors, those with no behaviour-related risk factors could expect to live on average eight years longer in good health and six years longer free of chronic diseases between ages 50 and 75.”
The study concluded that data from four European countries show that persons with individual and co-occurring behaviour-related risk factors have shorter healthy life expectancy and shorter chronic disease-free life expectancy.
Population level reductions in smoking, physical inactivity and obesity could increase life-years lived in good health.
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, looked at how exercise and alcohol consumption affect life expectancy.
The study noted: “Exercise provides a wealth of benefits to brain and body and is regarded as a protective factor against disease.
“The present review focuses on what is known about this relationship, including potential neural bases as well as moderating factors, and discusses important directions for further study, such as a more thorough characterisation of people who both drink and exercise.
“Several large, population-based studies have shown that people who are physically active are also likely to be moderate drinkers.”