Birthday cake for a 90-year-old
Birthday cake for a 90-year-old
Birthday cake for a 90-year-old

4 Top Ways to Live Longer

A Johns Hopkins-led study of 6,200 men and women over eight years found that those who adopted four smart behaviors reduced the chance of death from all causes within that time frame by an astounding 80 percent.

How to live longer? Here are those four factors, all within your control.

Don't Smoke.

Although your best plan to live longer is to adopt all four lifestyle factors, if you had to choose one, the researchers say, this is it.

“Smoking not only affects coronary arteries and lungs,” says Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of the study.

“Smokers also have increased rates of cancer and risk of stroke. It just affects so many organ systems.”

Maintain a Healthy Weight.

The healthiest people in the study maintained a body mass index (BMI)—a ratio of height to weight that measures body mass—of less than 25.

To find out your BMI, try using a free BMI calculator. To reach (and maintain) a healthy BMI, get busy on lifestyle changes 3 and 4.

Get Up and Move

Aim for about 30 minutes of activity a day most days of the week. Try breaking it into three 10-minute bouts of activity per day—a 10-minute walk in the morning, another at lunch and a stroll after dinner.

Make Healthy Food Choices.

The study found that the healthiest people followed a Mediterranean-style diet. That means a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, tree nuts with healthy oils, fish (and less red meats), whole-grain carbs and olive oil for cooking.

A senior couple carry surfboards on the beach.

It's Never Too Late: Five Healthy Steps at Any Age

Whatever healthy change you want to make, it's not too late to see big benefits. Here are five places to start.

Get Started!

Learn more about the study and bring the power of these smart choices into your own life with tips from Michael T. Smith, Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Behavior and Health.

Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter

One of the best things you can do to protect and improve your health is to stay informed. Your Health is a FREE e-newsletter that serves as your smart, simple connection to the world-class expertise of Johns Hopkins.

jhm-calendar

Request an Appointment

Find a Doctor
Find a Doctor