Adopting a healthier lifestyle can add years to your life—even in your 80s, according to new research from Japan.
Reducing drinking, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and increasing sleep produce the biggest gains, say scientists.
They increased longevity by six years in healthy 40-year-olds. The benefits were even more prominent in those twice the age.
These gains applied also to individuals with life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease.
The study from Osaka University shows it is never too late to give up bad habits and shed the pounds, from middle age onwards. It was based on almost 50,000 people in Japan who were tracked for up to 20 years.
“This is a particularly important finding given the prevalence of chronic disease has increased globally,” said Senior author Professor Hiroyasu Iso.
The team says taking ownership of your health is key to a pleasurable retirement.
“Idioms and proverbs about the importance of maintaining good health span the ages. Many emphasize how closely health is tied to happiness and the opportunity to live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.”
The study, published in Age and Aging, found that healthy behaviors adopted over time have a marked effect on lifespan.
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