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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 ultra marathons. In addition to training for her epic runs she finds time for strength training, Pilates and Yoga. .