8 ways to add healthier years to your life

Published On: Mar 17 2013 11:46:43 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 18 2013 07:45:00 AM EDT

The choices we make, both good and bad, have a direct impact on our lives.  Many of those choices can affect how long we will live.  If you're looking to add more healthy years to your life, there are eight things you can start doing.

First up, ditch the cigarettes. Lighting up kills just under half a million people in the United States each year.

“That’s more than the auto accidents, that’s more than HIV, that’s more than all the murders combined!” explained Jan Garavaglia, M.D., who has her own show, "Dr. G: Medical Examiner."

New research shows women who stop smoking before 40 live a decade longer than those who keep puffing.

Also, moderate drinkers slash their risk of heart disease by up to 40 percent. Try red wine from Madiran, France. It has up to five-times as many of the antioxidants that improve blood vessel function.

Also, do your own housework! A recent study found 150 calories worth of chores a day can lower high blood pressure by 13 points for eight hours. University of Maryland scientists found watching 15 minutes of funny videos can improve blood flow to your heart by 50 percent.

A 30 minute nap can also reduce heart mortality by 37 percent.

Purdue scientists found constant worrying shortens your lifespan by about 16 years.

Also, maintain a healthy waistline.

“Measure your waistline around where the navel is,” explained Holly Andersen, M.D., from the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute.

That number should be less than half your height. So if you’re 5 foot 2 inches, your waist should be less than 31 inches.

And stand up as often as you can. One Canadian researcher found cutting the amount of time you sit can lower your risk of prostate cancer by 10 percent, lung cancer by 20 percent, and colon cancer by 30 percent.

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