The key to a healthy lifestyle

The key to a healthy lifestyle

We’ll be forever striving for the key to longevity, health and happiness. Researchers from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health have undertaken a huge study into the impact of health habits on life expectancy and have found some of the answers.

The big conclusion is that rather than relying on drugs that cure illnesses and conditions, we should be putting more effort into preventing those problems in the first instance.

Here are the 5 things they have pinpointed contribute to a “healthy” lifestyle:

  1. A healthy diet - which means eating a rainbow, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. A healthy physical activity level - this has to be more than 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.
  3. A healthy body weight – which in this instance researchers have defined as having a normal BMI (body mass index), of between 18.5 and 24.9
  4. Avoid smoking - there is no healthy level of smoking. Those who don’t smoke are considered healthy.
  5. Moderate alcohol intake - in the study this measured between 5 and 15 grams each day for women, and 5 to 30 grams each day for men. When you consider that just one drink contains around 14 grams of pure alcohol, that’s not much.

A healthy lifestyle, taking into account all these 5 points, leads to living far longer than those who have none of these good habits. Women who follow all five rules can live for up to 14 years longer than those who don’t, and it’s 12 years for men (assuming these habits are carried out at age 50.)

For those who don’t follow any of these 5 rules, the risk of premature death from cancer or cardiovascular disease is far higher than for those who follow all 5. The more of these rules you follow, the less the risk of premature death. 

 


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.

Comments

Ashley C.
29 November 2018

Ashley C.

True Lucy, but I wonder if your healthy lifestyle made it more likely that you and your baby recovered more quickly perhaps? Glad you're both safe, it sounds like a very scary time.

Lucy C.
17 November 2018

Lucy C.

a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of suffering a lot of problems - but it won't fend them all off. There is absolutely still a place for science, medicine and drugs. My healthy lifestyle made no difference when I needed the emergency operation which saved me and my baby!

Hugh M.
16 November 2018

Hugh M.

At last scientists have acknowledged the obvious - prevention is better than cure. Perhaps now they will stop trying to cure everything with drugs and help us build resilience to avoid illness in the first place.

Michael W.
14 November 2018

Michael W.

I bet most people don't meet the minimum 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, Sounds easy, but I'm guessing that entails more than just walking.

Mark J.
14 November 2018

Mark J.

I hope the exercise averages out; don't have time for a daily workout but I am trying for 3 a week.

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