Four Habits For Lifelong Health

What would you do to add 10 years to your life? Research indicates that certain healthy habits independently add 1.5 to 2.5 years to one's life span, as much as 10 extra years, in fact, for both men and women (Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2001, vol. 161, no. 13). Here are the fab four to help you see another decade:

  1. Engaging in heart-pumping physical activity: 15 minutes of vigorous exercise at least three times per week.
  2. Consuming nuts: A handful of any kind, three to five times per week, for their cholesterol-lowering effect and high levels of vitamin E.
  3. Following a vegetarian diet: This decreases intake of saturated fats and increases consumption of disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight: Use the body-mass index (BMI), which takes into account height and weight.

    More good news: People who practice all four healthy habits have a 20-year edge over diabetics and hypertensive individuals. Since the four factors are voluntary options, your lifespan may be, to a large degree, within your control.

—Marilyn Sterling