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What Really Makes People Live Longer?
Q: What Really Makes People Live Longer?

A. Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that healthy changes associated with longer life have been shown to be slightly different for different genders.

For women

  • Maintain a healthy weight—Especially aim to lose that tummy fat, as studies have shown that this type of fat distribution leads to heart disease.
  • Get in shape—Exercise decreases the chances of diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. It also helps balance blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
  • Don’t smoke—By not smoking, you could drastically reduce your chances of dying from cancer or heart disease.
  • Keep tabs on your blood pressure—By getting regular exercise, not smoking, and eating a healthful diet, you can help keep your blood pressure at an optimal level.

For men

  • Get regular exercise—Men in better physical condition live longer, healthier lives.
  • Maintain a healthy weight—Leaner body mass is associated with longevity and also helps control blood sugar levels and keep blood pressure in check.
  • Keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range—Men with better blood sugar control fare better when it comes to living longer. To improve regulation, avoid being overweight, exercise regularly, and steer clear of processed foods.
  • Don’t smoke—Smoking elevates blood pressure, raises your risk of heart disease, and greatly increases the chance that you’ll get cancer or lung disease.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol—Men who drink three or more alcoholic beverages per day are less likely to reach old age in good health.
  • Further your education—Men with more education are likelier to live longer, healthier lives.
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