8 Everyday Health and Wellness Habits Linked With a Longer Life

A long, healthy life is the goal for many Americans, but according to a study published in September 2022 in BMJ, the average life expectancy in the United States fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 76.1 in 2021, marking the steepest two-year decline in a century. Research shows that the risk of many chronic diseases — including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and osteoporosis — increases with age as well.

The news isn’t all bleak, however. There are things anyone can do to lower their risk of many age-related diseases, add years to their lifespan, and make the dream of a long, healthy life a reality. The key is to start building those healthy habits now. Longevity experts share eight things you can do every day to make your golden years really shine.

1. Make Sure You’re Getting Some Physical Activity

Why It’s Important Regular physical activity has been shown to counteract normal muscle aging and help preserve lean muscle mass, research shows.

How to Do It To get the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or fast dancing) each week, as well as muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least two days each week, according to guidelines issued by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. That’s approximately half an hour a day during the workweek, and the activity does not have to come from just a single gym session. Even short bouts of activity add up, and many experts (as well as the guidelines) argue that it’s better to spread them out, says Laura Carstensen, PhD, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity in California.