Harvard Health Letter

The secrets of longevity

In a study of 75-year-olds, researchers found that those who thrived into their 90s shared some important traits. They didn't smoke. They remained physically active and pursued a variety of leisure activities. And they maintained a strong social network. The research was published in a recent issue of BMJ, and it reaffirms what physicians have been advising for years: stay active and stay connected for optimal physical and mental health. The study also found that even older adults with chronic illnesses tended to outlive their peers without such illnesses as long as they remained active and engaged with others. On average, men in this study who followed a healthy lifestyle lived six years longer, and women five years longer, compared with those who did not follow such a lifestyle.

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