A new study shows that healthy lifestyle behaviors can lead to higher life expectancy, even for those with chronic conditions, regardless of age.
A Japanese study shows that adopting positive lifestyle changes and sticking to them increases people’s life spans. While unsurprising, these results are encouraging for people of all ages, showing that, no matter how old you are, adopting positive habits can positively impact your life, helping you live happier and healthier.
The study, published in the journal Age and Ageing, was conducted by the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study Group at Osaka University. The group looked into the impact of behavioral changes from middle age forward and how that impacted life expectancy.
Researchers obtained their data from a study containing information on 49,021 people living in 45 areas of Japan, with evidence compiled from 1988 to 1990. Data included information on diet, exercise, sleep habits, body mass, and more, granting researchers a thorough picture of the subjects health habits.
Researchers found that subjects who adopted five or more healthy lifestyle behaviors had a higher life expectancy, even for those with chronic conditions, regardless of age.
“The results were very clear. A higher number of modified healthy behaviors was directly associated with great longevity for both men and women,” said Dr. Ryoto Sakaniwa, the study’s primary author. Subjects who reaped the most benefits were those who adopted behaviors like reducing their alcohol intake, not smoking, and sleeping more often, which could add up to 6 years of life.
In the case of chronic diseases, researchers praised the study’s findings even more, finding that adopting positive behaviors can reduce the harm of a variety of comorbidities, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and more. These results in particular are very important, considering that the majority of older adults are affected by some form of chronic conditions, with these reducing their quality of life.
While it’s logical to assume that adopting healthy behaviors leads to a healthier life, this is one of the first studies to show this in a scientific way. In the case of older adults and those who are aging, it’s important to show that it’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and that they can only impact your life in a positive way.