Certain conventional wisdoms about aging end up being pure fantasy (i.e. genes aren’t the primary determinant of how you age). Certain verifiable, statistically backed up aging wisdoms can end up being wrong as time goes on (i.e. married couples live longer).
These three healthy behaviors, in particular, are pretty much common sense by now, but it’s easy to forget just much they pay off: If you don’t smoke, maintain a moderate weight, and moderate your alcohol consumption, you will add seven additional years to your life.
The research, published in Health Affairs, surveyed 14,000 Americans ages 50-89 about their lifestyle choices every two years.
The study found that participants who never smoked and who never fell into the “obese” segment of the body mass index scale lived, on average, four to five years longer than the general population. The other segments of the BMI scale are categorized as “overweight,” “normal” and “underweight.”
Additionally, the study found that participants who moderated their alcohol consumption (seven drinks per week for women, 14 for men), saw a life expectancy bump of seven years. (As of last year, the average life expectancy for men and women in the United States was 76.3, and 81.2, respectively.) If you need to curb your consumption, here are 17 ways to cut back on alcohol.
Lead author of the study, Neil Mehta, explained that the research is not only about length of life, but quality of life, according to Health.com.
“While most of us want a long life, we probably would like those extra years of life to be healthy and productive. Behaviors matter, not only for how long you are going to live but also how healthy you are going to live those years.”