Find friends who are healthy. With whom you surround yourself can have the biggest impact on your lifestyle habits. One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, discovered that if a person’s closest friends put on pounds, then he or she will follow in 57 percent of cases. According to the study’s lead researcher, Nicholas Christakis, maintaining a healthy lifestyle means surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals and attitudes.
Embrace new challenges regularly. According to two studies, people who are goal-oriented, diligent, and organized usually have a longer lifespan and encounter Alzheimer’s at a 89 percent reduced rate. These individuals utilize their brains far more often than their less-focused counterparts, according to lead researcher in both studies, Robert Wilson, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Reading new books, doing new things, going new places, and thinking new thoughts are all good for your health.
Do your own housework. A study examining 302 people in their 70s and 80s found that risk of death could be lowered by as much as 30 percent by doing tasks such as mopping floors, vacuuming, washing the car etc. for only a little over an hour a day. Doing such tasks burns about 285 calories over that same period of time.
Have a positive and purposeful attitude. People with a positive outlook on life, who are driven with purpose and a sense of community, are healthier than individuals who think poorly of themselves, according to research published in American Psychologist magazine.
Some additional research from University of California, Riverside has found that personality characteristics and social relationships from childhood can predict an individual’s risk of dying decades later. Here are some findings that go against conventional wisdom.
- Marriage has health benefits for men, but has no health benefits for women. Men who remained in long term marriages were likely to live to age 70 and beyond while fewer than one third of divorced men live to 70. Men who never married outlived remarried and divorced men, but did not live as long as married men.
- Being divorced is much less harmful for women’s well-being. Women who were divorced and opted not to remarry were able to live nearly as long as other women who were in a long-term marriage.
- The adage, “Don’t overdo it, don’t stress,” is not sound advice for a long life. Individuals, who are the most involved and committed to their jobs, lived the longest. Continually productive men and women were able to outlive their laid-back counterparts.
- Beginning formal schooling too early – being in the first grade before age 6 – is a risk factor for earlier death. Children need sufficient playtime and the chance to relate to classmates in order to take important steps for interpersonal development.
- Playing with pets does not extend one’s life. Pets can improve a person’s well-being at times, but they are not a sufficient replacement for friends.
- Feeling loved and cared for can improve your sense of well-being, but it won’t help you live longer. The most evident health benefit form social interaction is directly connected to direct involvement and help toward others. The groups you find yourself associated with often determine the kind of individual you become – health or unhealthy.
- People who feel loved and cared for report a better sense of well-being, but it doesn't help them live longer. The clearest health benefit of social relationships comes from being involved with and helping others. The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become - healthy or unhealthy.