Live A Healthy and Longer Life With These 8 Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Aug 25, 2023 By Marie White

At the NUTRITION 2023 conference held from July 22 to 25 in the beautiful city of Boston, some researchers offered insight into a study about healthy eating habits. This research aims to shed light on how personal lifestyle choices like healthy sleep habits and overall healthy lifestyle habits, impact our average lifespan. The eight pillars are:

Never Smoke: When it comes to smoking, we've been aware of its dangers for a long time. This study further solidifies the message: it's best not to start smoking at all.

Physical Activity: Engaging in regular exercise or any form of physical activity not only keeps the body in shape but also revitalizes the mind.

Moderation in Drinking: Abstaining from binge drinking ensures a healthier liver and prevents potential mishaps that can occur in inebriated states.

Prioritizing Sleep: healthy sleep habits not only revitalize the body but also ensures mental clarity, assisting in decision-making and emotional regulation.

Nutritious Diet: Consuming a well-balanced diet filled with essential nutrients ensures the body functions at its optimal level.

Stress Management: Managing stress is important for physical and mental health in today's fast-paced society.

Positive Social Ties: Engaging in meaningful social interactions can be a source of joy, comfort, and emotional support.

Avoiding Opioid Addiction: With the opioid crisis at its peak, steering clear from these addictive substances is more crucial than ever.

The Study Methodology

The foundation of these revelations rests on the extensive data collected by Xuan-Mai T. Nguyen and co-author Yanping Li. The duo meticulously gathered data from a staggering 719,147 U.S military veterans who participated in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program from 2011 to 2019. This diverse cohort ranged in age from 40 to 99 years.

With 33,375 deaths recorded during the follow-up period, the data yielded intriguing insights. Physical inactivity, opioid usage, and smoking emerged as the most dangerous culprits, accounting for a heightened risk of death between 30% and 45%. Other habits, including poor sleep, unhealthy dietary choices, binge drinking, and heightened stress, also proved detrimental, each contributing to a 20% increased risk. Surprisingly, the absence of positive social relationships had a relatively minor yet still significant effect, adding a 5% increase in mortality risk.

However, hope is far from lost. The silver lining from this research showcases that as individuals adopted each positive lifestyle habit, there was a consistent decrease in the mortality rate per 1,000 person-years. Those who embraced all eight habits experienced a substantial 13% reduction in all-cause mortality. It's worth noting that while the benefits of these habits wane with age, they still remain statistically relevant.

But more than just highlighting risks, the study serves as a beacon, illustrating how informed choices can pave the way for more vibrant, fulfilling, and extended years of life.

Tips To Adopt The Mentioned 8 Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Never Smoking

To kick the habit, one should seek out dedicated support groups or programs aimed at smoking cessation. Additionally, it’s helpful to find alternative activities or substitutes, such as chewing gum, to combat the urges when they arise.

Physical Activity

Introducing exercise to one’s routine doesn’t mean immediately diving into rigorous workouts. Starting with brisk daily walks and then gradually increasing the distance or intensity can pave the way. It's essential to explore different exercise forms like yoga, dance, or swimming to find one's niche. Regardless of the activity chosen, consistency is vital, with the recommended goal being 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly.

Moderation in Drinking

To ensure responsible alcohol consumption, setting personal drink limits before social occasions can be beneficial. Designating specific days of the week as alcohol-free can also assist in moderation. Additionally, interspersing alcoholic drinks with glasses of water not only keeps one hydrated but can also limit overall alcohol intake.

Prioritizing Sleep

Sleep is the body's natural reset button. To optimize it, one should establish a consistent sleep schedule, ensuring they head to bed and wake up at the same time daily. The sleep environment matters too; a quiet, cool, and dark bedroom often promotes better sleep. Another pro tip is to reduce screen exposure at least an hour before bedtime to avoid disrupting the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.

Nutritious Diet

In order to maintain a healthy weight and healthy eating habits, one must first plan one's meals for the week. Whole foods, such as fresh produce, fruit, grains, and lean proteins, should always be prioritized.

Stress Management

Stress management is more important than ever. Meditation and other practices of mindfulness like deep breathing exercises can be comforting. Setting personal and professional boundaries helps alleviate emotions of being smothered. Another effective way to relieve stress is to devote time to interests or pursuits in which one takes great pleasure.

Positive Social Ties

Humans are inherently social beings. Finding community groups or clubs that align with personal interests can foster new relationships. It's essential to remember that the depth of connections matters more than the number. Regularly checking in on loved ones, even with a simple message or call, can maintain and strengthen bonds.

Avoiding Opioid Addiction

For pain management, it's always advisable to discuss non-opioid alternatives with healthcare professionals. If opioids are prescribed, proper storage, away from children and in a secure place, is essential to prevent unintended consumption or misuse.

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