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Quit Smoking, Limit Alcohol and Workout for a Healthy Life After 40, Say Researchers

Update Date: Oct 24, 2012 02:04 PM EDT
Exercising
Exercising (Photo : Flickr)

Everyone dreads old age. No one wants wrinkled skin, bad sight, diminishing body strength, and worst of all, the plethora of diseases that entail old age.

A new study suggests that life can really begin at 40, if only one could quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and workout. In other words, simply follow a healthy lifestyle.

Researchers conducted a study for 16 years that looked at the benefits of certain good habits that one could have during old age.

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A health veteran was defined as someone aged 60 and above, who had good mobility, good mental health and no chronic diseases.

For the research, the scientists studied 5,000 plus people aged between 42 and 63 and found that behaviors such as staying active did have a small benefit on people.

"Our study shows the cumulative impact of healthy behaviors on successful ageing - the greater the number of healthy behaviors, the greater the benefit," study leader Dr. Siverine Sabia, from the University College London, added.

The findings suggested that people who maintained one of the habits like staying active, or eating greens, or working out etc, did get a small benefit. However, people who maintained all healthy habits, including quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake, enjoyed greater benefits and stayed healthier. These people certainly had much better chances of enjoying a healthy old age when compared to people who did none of these.

The study, which was conducted by British and French researchers, examined the records of 5,100 men and women who did not have any chronic disease during 1991-1994. Those still alive were then re-assessed in 2007-2009.  Of the total participants, 549 people died during follow-up, 953 were classified as successfully aging, while the remaining people aged normally, Mail Online reported.

The findings of further investigation into survivors revealed that successful agers were more likely to have a higher education than those aging normally, while five percent of the study participants did not engage in any of the four healthy habits listed by the researchers.

 "Although individual healthy behaviors are moderately associated with successful ageing, their combined impact is quite substantial. Multiple healthy behaviors appear to increase the chance of reaching old age disease-free and fully functional in an additive manner," Dr. Sabia was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

The study is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

 

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