boost your bone density, older woman exercising at the gym, healthy lifestyle, boost your bone density

Everyone knows that there are several key elements to a healthy lifestyle: not smoking, exercising regularly, eating your vegetables, controlling weight and consuming alcohol in moderation. Most people, however, do not know how much longer they could live if they actually followed such advice.

How Many Years Does a Healthy Lifestyle Add?

A new report in the journal Circulation used data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Followup Study to answer this question (Li et al, Circulation, May 1, 2018 ). Over 120,000 men and women participated in these study cohorts for more than three decades. That included 78,865 female nurses and 44,354 male dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists and other health professionals.

During that time, almost 25,000 health professionals died from cancer or cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for various factors, the authors found that a 50-year-old-woman following all five healthy habits might expect to live to 93. That is 14 years longer than women with the least healthy lifestyles. A 50-year-old man could expect to make it to 87 if he followed all the healthy habits. That’s 12 years more than his less conscientious colleagues.

The authors conclude:

“Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy in US adults.”

Do You Follow a Healthy Lifestyle?

Sadly, though, very few Americans actually implement such recommendations. The authors of the Circulation analysis note that in 2006 only 8% of Americans could check all five healthy lifestyle boxes. Let us know if there is information we can provide through The People’s Pharmacy to help you achieve these goals.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Kim

    I do 4/5. Exercise is less frequent. Would like to know where that puts me. And, like other, quality is better than quantity. My grandmother lived to 102, my grandfathers to 94. One was crippled by arthritis. One was in good health. And One died before I was born so I don’t know. The 4th was in good health till about a year before she died in her mid 70s. Since genes also play a role, quality is especially important to me.

  2. Penelope

    How about avoiding excessive sitting! I’ve rigged up a standing desk for my computer and have a lot less back pain!

  3. Penelope

    What are the 5 healthy lifestyle factors? I looked at the article and couldn’t find them and it isn’t in your article!

    • Terry Graedon

      1. Don’t smoke
      2. Exercise at least 5 days a week
      3. Follow a healthful diet–mostly whole foods, lots of veggies, not many processed foods or snacks
      4. Maintain a healthy weight
      5. Drink modest amounts of alcohol, preferably with friends during meals

      • Judy

        I don’t believe number 5. I’ve a special interest in alcohol consumption and have done a lot of reading on the subject. I believe ‘there is no safe level of alcohol consumption’ and that there is risk of cancer and other conditions with every mouthful of this drug. Studies which show otherwise are flawed, and there’s a great deal of bias since so many like this drug, there’s a push to find it good for you.

  4. Shirley Henderson C

    I used to do wellness seminars for big companies, addressing large groups of employees. I was employed by CIGNA Insurance Company. Their presentations on stress management made clear that lifestyle factors account overwhelmingly for early morbidity. Simple things like not drinking to excess, not smoking, weight management, regular exercise, a decent diet, having friends and a support system…all these made the biggest impact on health and longevity.

  5. John
    Croydon, PA

    Was quality of life better for those who had healthy lifestyle habits? That is more important to me than longevity.

  6. Dolores

    I’m 87, will be 88 in June. In order to live a rich, full life, there are 3 things you should do: 1. Exercise (walking, etc.); 2. Eat nutritiously (limit white flour, sugar); 3. Sense of Humor; 4. Hope and Faith. I have been energetic and active all my life and although I do not do strenuous exercise, I walk a minimum of 5,000 and sometimes even reach my goal of 10,000 steps/day. My FitBitCharge2 keeps track of my steps and heartbeat. I include proteins, lots of veggies and little carbs and go light on desserts, so that all systems run smoothly. “Laughter is the Best Medicine” and it’s TRUE. It builds up your immune system. I have Joy in my heart and no matter what the circumstances, I see the Rainbow; I have hope and faith in God. I have been blessed with a “Positive Attitude.”

  7. Lonnie

    Why does eating a healthy diet always emphasizes “living longer”???
    My interest is to be healthy for whatever period of time I’m given, without a host of medical issues caused by the stupidity of an unhealthy diet/lifestyle that causes diabetes, cancer, etc., a debilitating life style, pain, and a cabinet of meds that have numerous negative interactions. When & if a major health issues arises, it won’t be caused by “me”. As a cancer center volunteer at a major hospital, it’s pathetic to to see patients who could have avoided their disease. People simply don’t care! No wonder obesity is rampant in the USA.

  8. Pamela D

    Doctors’ offices are notorious for taking sloppy and inaccurate BP readings. This is totally unacceptable—especially when this reading is imperative in the ridiculous equation that is used in the decision to prescribe drugs like Lipitor.

  9. Kenneth

    Adopting a healthy lifestyle is simple, but not easy. In this high tech, fast paced, quick fix world, its easy to overlook the simplicity of healthy living. I overlooked it for 59 years of my life. However, its never to late to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It just takes a willingness to change old behaviors and become aware of what your mind and body need. We ere blessed with amazingly resilient bodies that will respond to healthy changes in a positive way. For me I focus on 4 simple principles. Better nutrition, proper sleep, stress management, and consistent daily exercise. Simple but not easy until these changes become habit.

  10. phil

    My wife and I are considering following Dr Caldwell Esselstyne’s diet recommendations to prevent and reverse heart disease.
    an all vegetable diet. Has anyone else tried his recommendations.

    • Michele
      North Carolina

      Go for it! You won’t regret it and will feel terrific. You will sleep better,look better,smell better and be healthy.

  11. Barbara
    West Virginia

    I enjoy the People’s Pharmacy newsletter a lot, and your show, when I am awake early enough to listen to it. However, I wish you would have more articles on the beneficial effects of exercise. Most of us would prefer not to ingest something to improve our health, much less something, even food or spices, when we are not certain of side effects.

    Exercise is the best for arthritis, and I have found it to be extremely helpful for my lower back. It also is as good as medication or better, since it has no side effects, for my mood. Doing pilates, zumba toning, yoga and walking have all helped me gain strength, improve my posture and maintain my weight. Losing weight is something that I have not mastered. It is so much safer, and it would be good to know what exercises are safest, the benefits of a variety of exercises (even if it is to minimize boredom and stick with a routine) and which ones can prevent injury and/or illnesses.

    I really enjoy the health news.

  12. Cathy

    Are there any studies on the quality of those extra years?

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.