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The secrets to living longer

Find out how the choices you make affect how long you live.

Use this advice to calculate the cost your day-to-day decisions are making on your life.

Thinking old
Thinking old is the quickest way to speed up your demise. Learn a new skill, set new goals and be grateful for life's endless possibilities. Staying young at heart keeps you healthy.
-5 years
Long-living parents
Genes play an important role in health and longevity. If your parents and grandparents lived to a ripe old age, you've got a good chance of following suit.
+10 years
Clutter
Hoarders beware! Outstanding debt, material possessions or a tumultuous relationship can cause stress - so clear it all up.
-1 year
Community
As social creatures, we function best in a supportive network. Community involvement can improve your well-being.
+6 years
Having faith
Studies have found a powerful link between faith and longevity. Attending a religious service once a week can significantly increase your life span.
+7 years
Stay short
Being short has its advantages. Taller people are more prone to cancers and age-related diseases.
+5 years

olive oil

Good fats
Saturated fats, trans-fatty acids and cholesterol, found in fast food, age us. Good fats - poly- and monounsaturated fats like olive oil help keep us young. Being underweight can also strip a year from your life potential.
+1 year
Obesity-3 years
Underweight-1 year
We all know the dangers of being fat. It leads to all sorts of diseases and can take three years off your life. But being too thin isn't healthy either.
Mediterranean diet
Regularly eating fruits, vegies, nuts, seeds, cereals, olive oil and fish adds years to your life - and reduces your risk of heart disease and cancers. But to gain the best benefits from a Mediterranean diet, you'll also need to be physically active.
+5 years
Fast food
Foods packed with refined sugars, preservatives and trans fats - eg, fast food - could take four years off your life span.
-4 years
Bad posture
Slouching strains our muscles, ligaments and tendons, wears out our joints and bones, and causes spinal injuries and arthritis. People with these ailments have poorer general health and a shorter life span.
-2 years
Girls rule!
Women outlive men in almost every country. It's to do with the release of certain hormones and is also an evolutionary trait.
+10 years

girls live longer

Couch potato
Inactivity makes you more prone to diabetes, back pain, heart disease and falls. So get up and get moving! Any activity is better than none.
-8 years
Good sex +4 years
Risky sex-8 years
Good sex has health benefits for both men and women. On the flip side, risky sexual behaviour increases your chances of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI). ransmitted infection (STI) a may take 8 years off your life.
City life+3 years
Room with a view+2 years
Living in a concrete jungle can take three years off your life. However, if you live or work in a pleasing environment your greater sense of well-being may add two years to your life.
Noise pollution
Chronic noise exposure affects stress levels and our health. Turn down the sound or wear ear muffs to add to your longevity.
-1 year
Regular screenings
Many put off medical screenings until it's too late. The earlier you catch a disease, the less damage you're likely to get and the easier it'll be to treat.
+4 years

happy couple

Red wine+ 3 years
Binge drinking-3 years
One or two red wines a day may keep your blood vessels healthy and add up to three years to your life. But beware, too much will undo all the good. Binge drinking can cause various health problems.
Stretching
It's no accident yoga has been practised for thousands of years. Flexibility protects muscles and joints, and builds strength and stamina - being bendy has its perks!
+1 year
Lack of sleep
Sleep deprivation can raise blood pressure, cholesterol, cortisol and blood fats and reduces brain power.
-5 years
Power naps
Regular siestas can lower your risk of heart attack and alleviate stress. But more than 30 minutes could lead to trouble sleeping
+1 year
Smoking
Smoking is the single most prevalent cause of preventable disease and premature death. It increases your risk of at least 50 different medical problems. So quit now and add years to your life.
-8 years
Happiness
Happiness boosts the immune system and lowers stress. People with positive emotions recover more quickly from illness and injury - and live longer!
+9 years
Exercise+2 years
Over-exercise-2 years
Exercise is good for the whole body. It lowers the risk of cancers and diseases, and lowers stress, anger and anxiety. But don't overdo it because over-exercising can reduce your life expectancy by two years.

pets

Pets
Just being near a pet - even a goldfish - lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, reduces your risk of depression and helps you socially engage with other people.
+2 years
Marriage
Men and women live happier, healthier and longer lives if they're in a stable partnership.
+7 years
Divorce
It's one of life's biggest stresses and increases your risk of cancer and other diseases as well as death from accidents. The good news is if you remarry you may regain the lost years.
+3 years
Washing your hands
Only half of us wash our hands after visiting a public toilet. Contact between people is the main way diseases are spread. Wash away your risk of disease by properly washing your hands on a regular basis.
+2 years

*Extracted from The Long Life Equation: 100 Factors That Can Add or Subtract Years From Your Life by Dr Trisha Macnair, Hardie Grant Books.

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