Do you think you are living a healthy life ?
The way in which we choose to live our life determines how long this can be and also the quality with which we can live it as we get older. Of course, not everything is in our hands. There are hereditary and environmental factors that also influence, as well as accidents and chance.
But many other things do depend on us , and their impact on our lives is remarkable. An investigation carried out by scientists of the University of Edinburgh has reviewed the history of 600,000 people, extracting statistical relations between their genetics, their habits, their life expectancy and their longevity, as well as the available relationship of their parents and their grandparents .
The result is a huge amount of data that allows us to determine, statistically, how much our life expectancy increases according to the good habits we are able to create and follow .
Never having started smoking
It is the first on the list of behaviors that negatively affect our life expectancy. According to the researchers, smoking, and specifically smoking a pack of tobacco a day reduces the life expectancy a total of 7 years.
If the previous point catches you late because you have already started smoking, this will make you happy: according to the researchers, it is possible for smokers to recover those seven lost years if they leave it on time. They do not make it quite clear what “on time” means, but it is shown that quitting brings immediate benefits, so our recommendation is to quit it, today, now!
Reduce blood pressure
After smoking, the factor that most probably affects life expectancy is hypertension, reducing it by an average of 5.2 years. Here come into play different habits, since blood pressure is the result of the combination of diet, physical activity and, in some cases, medication.
In this case, researchers looked at the history of patients the presence or absence of a gene related to the body’s management of cholesterol: people with this gene have higher levels of blood cholesterol, and live on average. It is not in your hand to take away a gene, but it is in your mind to be aware of your cholesterol levels and not let them get out of control.
When analyzing the medical history of overweight people, researchers concluded that for every pound (453 grams) lost, life expectancy increases by two months. That means that if you have 10 kilos left over and you can get rid of them, you would be adding almost 2 years to your life expectancy.
Advance in your education
For each year spent studying after compulsory education is completed, researchers say that life expectancy lasts 11 months. It is not clear whether this increase in life expectancy comes directly from the fact of studying, or if it is actually caused because, statistically, people with higher education levels also maintain better health habits, such as not smoking, a varied diet, regular exercise, etc.
Have an open mind to new things
The researchers themselves recognize that this is a difficult habit to quantify, and therefore it is also difficult to measure how many years of life this can add to us. But they say that there is a pattern that relates a longer life expectancy with those people who consider themselves curious and willing to try new things in front of the cautious ones who admit playing always safe.
Bonus: Do high intensity exercise frequently
In other unrelated research , several scientists analyzed the exercise levels of more than 5,800 adults , and found that those who did high-intensity exercise frequently (about 30-40 minutes of walking fast or running about five days a week) presented in their cells some telomeres (the extremities of the chromosomes) similar to those of people 9 years younger .
The most important thing of this study is that when specifying in periods of time, even in statistical terms (and statistics must always be taken with caution), the benefit of making improvements in our lifestyle this benefit becomes more real and tangible, and we can even calculate the benefit for our life expectancy that we would obtain by implementing several of them in our day-to-day lives. What are you waiting for?