It turns out that adopting a few healthier habits can actually extend your lifespan.
A recent American study, conducted by Harvard University, collated data from 123,000 respondents in order to determine whether certain factors can actually affect lifespan.
Results found that participants who followed healthy diets, controlled their weight, exercised regularly, drank in moderation and did not smoke were more likely to live longer. Women that followed all five habits saw their life expectancy increase by 14 years, whereas that of men increased by 12 years.
Statistics also showed that the participants who did lead healthier lifestyles were significantly less likely to die of heart disease and cancer; heart disease rates decreased by 82 per cent, whereas cancer rates were down by 65 per cent.
Researchers admitted that these results weren’t unexpected, but did highlight that the extent to which healthy habits could extend lifespan surprised even them.
There, are of course, external factors to consider – the commodification of ‘wellness’ and ‘clean eating’ has been criticised for hiking up the price of healthy food, whereas other research has shown that crash dieting can actually have damaging long-term effects. In other words, shifting weight in a culture which favours fat-shaming and markets miracle solutions can have a corrosive impact on mental, as well as physical, health.
Still, the fact remains that healthy, long-term shifts in behaviour might do us more good than we think.