5 Harvard-approved habits that add 10 years to your life

Did you know that Americans have a shorter life expectancy than people in nearly all other high-income countries?

Blame it on a poor diet, workaholic mindset, sedentary lifestyle or whatever else, but the fact is, we’re living shorter lives than people with all the luxuries we have should.

In fact, the average life expectancy in America is 79.3 years. The older I get, the younger that seems. We all deserve a good 10 happy and healthy years after that… at least.

Luckily, there is a simple way to add at least 10 years to your life expectancy. All you have to do is practice five Harvard- approved habits for health and longevity…

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How to live long and prosper according to Harvard

A recent study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that you can add 10 years to your life expectancy by following five simple health habits.

The study included 34 years of data from 78,865 women and 27 years of data from 44,354 men. Researchers looked at how practicing five healthy habits impacted their life expectancy. The five habits included:

  1. Eating a healthy diet
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight
  4. Not drinking too much alcohol
  5. Not smoking cigarettes

Practicing these easy, healthy habits had an amazing impact on life expectancy. At age 50, people who didn’t practice any of these habits had a life expectancy of about 79 years old for women and 75 years old for men. But people who practiced all five habits had a much higher life expectancy at age 50…

Women had a life expectancy of 93 years old, and men had a life expectancy of 87 years old. Now that’s more like it!

People who practiced these healthy habits also slashed their heart disease and cancer risks significantly. They were 82% less likely to die from heart disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer than people who didn’t live healthy lifestyles.

I don’t know about you, but I think dodging these two dreaded diseases is worth the effort it takes to practice these five simple habits alone! The 10-year boost to life expectancy is just an awesome bonus.

Taking the Harvard approach to healthy living

This study offers more evidence that healthy living doesn’t have to be hard. These healthy habits are as simple as they come. But you still may need a little guidance to get started.

Luckily, the study provided more information about how to abide by these five Harvard-approved guidelines of good health. You can start by:

  • Maintaining a body mass index that’s between 18.5-24.9 kg/m2
  • Getting 30 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous activity
  • Limiting your alcohol intake to one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women or two glasses for men
  • Cutting cigarettes out completely
  • Eating a healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains

Hopefully, you’re already practicing some of these habits. But if you’re not, now you have more motivation than ever to kick yourself into gear. Your health and the length of your life depend on it.

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!


  1. Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more — MedicalXpress. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  2. Li, et al. “The Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population.” — Circulation, 2018.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.