It wasn’t a big surprise when I read this article about the benefits of healthy lifestyle on longevity into old age, but I wanted to share this article with you anyways! The good news is that it reinforces what I always tells patients: diet and lifestyle are the KEY to your health. Anything extra that you take from a supplemental standpoint should only be used temporarily to help you “get over a hump”. After that, you should be able to rely on a good diet and healthy lifestyle to keep you as healthy as possible.
The Study Details
The British Medical Journal published a population-based cohort study looking into lifestyle, social networks and leisure activities in relation to longevity. The purpose of the study was to examine modifiable characteristics associated with longevity amongst 1810 elderly adults who were at least 75 years of age.
During the 18 year follow-up, the investigators examined the median age at death based on vital status records from 1987 to 2005. Most of the participants (91.8%) died during the follow-up, with a lifespan exceeding 90 years in 50% of the participants.
What They Found
The age of death of current smokers was 1.0 year younger in comparison to non-smokers. Interestingly, the survival of former smokers was similar to that of never-smokers, which suggests that smoking cessation in middle age could lessen the effect of smoking on mortality.
Physical activity (eg. regular swimming, walking or gymnastics) was the leisure activity most strongly linked to longevity. Participants who regularly engaged in these activities has a median age at death of 2.0 years older than participants who did not.
Low Risk vs High Risk
The study defined “low-risk profile” as healthy lifestyle behaviours, taking part in one or more leisure activity and having a rich or moderate social network. They defined “high-risk profile” as unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, no leisure activities and a limited or poor social network. The investigators found that participants in the low-risk profile group had an increase in medial survival of 5.4 years, in comparison to participants in the high-risk profile group.
In addition, other factors associated with increased survival were female sex and higher educational level.
The investigators of this study concluded that their “results suggest that encouraging favourable lifestyle behaviours even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity”.
The Take-Away Message
Moral of the story is that you should be as active as you can, no matter what age you are, in order to live a longer healthier life! So get out there now that spring is in the air and take advantage of our warming weather to go out for a walk, hike or run.
If you’d like to sit down with me to discuss how I can create a customized treatment plan for you, CONTACT ME HERE to set up a complimentary 15 min discovery call/meeting and we can get started.
What’s a discovery call/meeting? It’s where we get to know each other better to ensure that I’m the right practitioner for you and that you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Naturopathic Medicine before we move forward with an initial Naturopathic consultation.
Here are a few more posts on the importance of healthy living that you might also be interested in:
- One Third of Cancer Caused by Lifestyle Factors
- What To Do If You’re ALWAYS Tired
- The Effect of Obesity on Fertility
- Weight Gain During Pregnancy
- Immune Support
- High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT)
- The Benefits of Having Pets Growing Up
- Rizzuto D, Orsini N, Qiu CX, Wang HX & Fratiglioni L. Lifestyle, social factors, and survival after age 75: population based study. BMJ 2012; 345:e5568 (Published 30 Aug 2012).
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