Harvard Men's Health Watch

Healthy living after 75

A Swedish study in BMJ identifies the secrets to living a long, healthy, and enjoyable life—after 75. Just do this: maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke or drink, cultivate a web of social connections, and enjoy regular leisure-time activities. In the study, scientists tracked the lifestyle and health status of 1,800 older Swedes for up to 18 years.

Half of the study group lived into their ninth decade. The scientists calculated the number of years of added life attributable to various behaviors. The leading lifespan-extenders were maintaining rich social networks (1.6 years added) and continuing to engage in a variety of leisure activities, including gardening, sewing, and volunteer work (up to 2.3 years). For anyone at any age, the same behaviors add up to a healthier life.

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