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fitness and yogaThe evidence continues to pile up about how making healthy lifestyle choices in old age can increase lifespan by up to six years for men and up to five more years for women.

A Swedish study wanted to see if having healthy habits were just as important after a person turns 75. The researchers wanted to see if there was an extension on a person’s lifespan.

To investigate, the researchers studied 1,800 participants that were tracked from 1987 to 2005. Over the 18-year period, the participants were documented for their age, sex, occupation, education, lifestyle habits, what they did in their leisure time, and their socializing network.  Here are some of the findings of the study:

Around half of the participants lived to be over 90 years old and were more often women that were highly educated,  practiced healthy lifestyle habits and had a good social network of friends and family. They tended to take part in more leisure time activities compared to those who died.

  • Smokers who quit had a trend that looked more like the people who never smoked. Quitting smoking in midlife could be beneficial for increased lifespan.
  • The most important factor was physical fitness, which was grouped in with the leisure activities. The study participants who swam, walked, or did gymnastics regularly lived around two years more than those who did not keep physically active.

Participants over 85 years of age with chronic health conditions also benefited from healthy lifestyle habits. They lived four years more compared to those who had lived the unhealthy way.

Continue reading more about the Swedish study by clicking here.

Written by Bethany Lutheran Village

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