We all hope to live long, healthy, prosperous lives – but how much thought do you actually put into helping yourself to do so? While some factors that may lead to a shorter lifespan, like age and gender, are out of our control, other factors are our responsibility to avoid. Here are the top things to stay away from if you want to live for longer:

1. Smoking

We all know by now that smoking is bad for you, but in case you need an extra reason to quit, studies have found that you can take at least ten years off your life expectancy by regularly reaching for the tobacco. It’s never too late to quit, either; quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of death by smoking-related disorders by up to 90%.

2. Stress

Most of us will experience some form of stress during our lifetimes, but if your temporary anxieties turn into a chronic stress disorder, you’re putting yourself at major risk of a number of life-shortening or life-ending diseases. The higher your stress levels, the more susceptible you are to getting sick, and studies show that this can directly decrease your lifespan.

3. Overeating

Overeating generally causes obesity, and today’s modern American diet makes it only too easy to pile on the pounds. It’s thought that more than 1.9 billion adults in the US are overweight, and the number is only set to increase. Obese and overweight people live shorter lives and are more likely to develop chronic diseases. If you’re struggling to stick to a healthy diet, visit your GP for advice.

4. Loneliness

It turns out that being lonely or socially isolated has more than just a mental impact; it can also shorten your lifespan. It’s thought that too little social connection with the outside world can have a number of negative consequences on your health, with one study finding that people who reported feelings of loneliness had a significantly increased risk of an earlier death. On the other hand, abundant social relationships were found to boost health and wellness.

5. Poor sleep

In a world where it’s almost impossible to switch off, getting your eight hours of sleep every night can feel like an impossible challenge. However, if bad sleep is a part of your life that you’ve grown to accept, it’s time to not accept it. Poor sleep can shorten your life expectancy and almost double your risk of death from heart disease. Visit sleepline.com for the importance of good sleep.

6. Sitting for too long

Bad news for any office workers out there: studies have found that sitting for long periods of time can cause you to lose around two years of your life. It’s thought that if you sit for longer than two or three hours at a time, you’re at risk. Work from a desk? Try taking regular breaks to stretch your legs, and avoid eating lunch on the job. If you’re feeling adventurous, invest in a standing desk table for a bit of sitting/standing variation.
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