If you want to live a long life, it's important to be aware of what you're doing each day. Because according to science, prolonging your life is more than just eating right and getting some exercise. There are things you may be doing each day that may be
shortening your life without you realizing it. But luckily, once you're aware of them, you can tweak your routine.
"Bad habits overtime can take a toll on your body,"
Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, family and emergency doctor, tells Bustle. For instance, drinking too much can affect your heart and liver, and not getting enough sleep can lower your immunity, and lead to other long-term health issues.
Because of that, it's important to be mindful of the things we do in our daily lives. You never know how one seemingly harmless behavior can affect your life if done constantly over a long period of time.
"Practicing mindfulness towards your actions allows you to become more in tune with yourself,"
Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates, tells Bustle. "When there is a negative habit, you first need to realize its existence, monitor the occurrences, and then work to overcome it. Once you start to acknowledge your habits, good or bad, you learn to grow."
If you're looking to
prolong your life, being aware of the harmful things you're doing each day is a great place to start. If you do the following things more than twice a day, science says, you may impacting your longevity.
A 2013 study published in
The New England Journal of Medicine found that smoking can decrease your life span by at least 10 years. "Smoking by far, can lead to premature death," Dr. Nesheiwat says. It can lead to a number of things like heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It can also lead to multiple forms of cancer including bladder cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, and throat cancer. According to the 2013 study, adults who managed to quit smoking were able to add six to 10 years to their life compared to those who continued the habit.
"Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day can also contribute to an increased risk of early death due to its connection to liver, pancreatic, and heart diseases," Dr. Seema Sarin of
EHE Health, tells Bustle. In fact, a 2018 study found that people who drank more than 100g of alcohol every week were at an increased risk for premature death. You don't have to give up alcohol completely to live a long life. But just be aware of how much you're drinking. The key here is moderation.
There are a number of things we do each day that we can't really avoid. Commuting and sitting for long periods of time are just two examples of that. "All of the inactivity and non-movement becomes obstructive on your body," Dr. Gruener says. A 2012 study published in the
Journal of Urban Health found that commuting for more than one hour each day can increase stress and cause you to have the same adverse effects as prolonged sitting. People who had commutes that lasted longer than two hours were also less likely to engage in healthy activities like exercise. Stress, sitting for a long time, and a lack of exercise are things to be aware of.
"While there’s no denying that Netflix has addictive qualities, watching your favorite show more than twice a day can have adverse effects on your life expectancy," Nate Masterson, CMO and certified health expert for
Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "This is largely due to the fact that [continued streaming] can lead to poor sleep quality and fatigue." Harvard researchers found that watching just two hours of TV a day can lead to an increased risk or premature death and heart disease, while a University of Queensland study found that " every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes."
Forget To Wash Your Hands
"A tale as old as time, you have to wash your hands before you eat," Dr. Gruener says. "When you don't, you're letting your body become open to millions of bacteria and possible diseases." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
washing your hands can save lives. As they found, handwashing can prevent about 30 percent of diarrhea-related sickness and 20 percent of respiratory infections. This is especially important because some germs are resistant to antibiotics. Because of that, doctors can have a hard time treating someone who gets sick.
Say "No" To Socializing With Co-Workers
Turning down your co-worker's efforts to chit chat throughout the day can make you a more productive employee. But it can also have a way of shortening your lifespan. A 2011 study published in the journal
Health Psychology studied adults who worked an average of eight hours a day over the span of 20 years. As researchers found, people who had " low social support" at work were 2.4 times more likely to die during that 20 year period than those who felt like they had an emotional support system at work. Having strong connections with others is essential to having a healthy life. As studies have found, loneliness can lead to premature death. Since you spend most of your days at work, it's important to have positive relationships with the people you work with.
While it's completely normal to worry every now and then, constantly living in a state of anxiety can be harmful to your health. A 2012 study published in the journal
BMJ found links between mild anxiety and a shorter lifespan. Researchers took information from a survey of 68,000 adults who talked about their health and feelings of wellness. People who said they were "mildly distressed" were 29 percent more likely to die early of heart disease or stroke. Researchers concluded that even low levels of depression and anxiety can be risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
So these are just a few things that are known to shorten lifespan if done more than twice a day. If you're mindful of these things and make an effort to stay healthy, you can increase your chances of living a long happy life.