Bob Ferguson Wellness Blog - Five Health Habits That Net More Healthy Years - Harvard Health

posted on 12/29/22



Bob Ferguson Wellness Blog
Five Health Habits That Net More Healthy Years - Harvard Health




Who is up for considering a healthier lifestyle in 2023? Here is some evidence-based research from Harvard Health on how to live an extra 10+ years of healthy life by adopting at least 4 of these 5 health habits.


"Are those extra years healthy?"


In this new study, researchers wanted to know if those extra years were also healthy years. Participants were asked in follow-up questionnaires if they had developed medical problems like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and strokes), or cancer. The answers were verified by a review of medical records.


The study found that having at least four of the five healthy habits gave people significant protection against developing any of these illnesses: on average about a decade more of life free of these diseases.


Why is that important? These chronic diseases are associated with illness, hospitalizations, and even needing nursing home care. Diabetes, for example, can lead to disabling conditions, including blindness, amputations, and kidney failure requiring dialysis. The top 10 diagnoses resulting in nursing home care include strokes, heart disease, and obesity, according to the National Association of Health Data Organizations. These conditions are strongly associated with diet and lifestyle.


Steps for a longer, healthier life

If you’re approaching middle age, you can take steps to enjoy a longer and healthier life, one with a lower chance of becoming disabled or ending up in a nursing home:


Eat mostly plants, most of the time. That means fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Avoid eating fast or fried foods, sweets and sugary beverages, and red and processed meats (like cold cuts) as much as possible.

Move your body every day as much as you can. Walking for 30 minutes a day (15 in the morning, 15 in the evening, maybe?) would give you the benefits these researchers found. But even as little as 10 minutes of movement per week has been shown to have health benefits.

Do the best you can to get to a healthy weight. And remember, even a little bit of weight loss, just a few pounds, is associated with real, positive health outcomes, like a lower risk of diabetes in people at risk.

Quit smoking — or vaping! Though this particular study looked at never having smoked, we know that there are significant health benefits to quitting at any time. It’s never too late to quit and enjoy a healthier life.

If you drink any alcohol, keep the recommended limits in mind: one drink per day max for women, two drinks per day max for men.


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Bob Ferguson

Bob Ferguson
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