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Health Watch: 50 Ways To Live Longer

BOSTON (CBS) — Eat right, exercise and don’t smoke. We all know the basic rules for staying healthy, but there a number of unexpected things you can do to help you live longer.

Starting with picking up a book: Studies have shown reading can dramatically reduce stress and research out of Yale University says those who read 3.5 hours per week have a lower mortality rate.

Get a Pet: Researchers have found pets, and dogs in particular, can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and give you a better chance of surviving a heart attack. This was not a surprise to the people we talked to at a Newton dog park. “It makes you, even if you don’t want to, get outside numerous times a day, so you’re getting exercise,” one woman told WBZ-TV.

Have Sex: The British Medical Journal reports men who have sex three times a week have 50-percent fewer heart attacks.

Get Married: “Patients who are married, stay married and actually have a survival advantage,” explained internist Dr. Marc Itskowitz.

Laugh: Studies show laughter really is the best medicine, reducing stress and boosting the immune system.

Eat Fish: “If you want to live a longer life, go fishing,” explained Boston University Professor of Nutrition, Joan Salge Blake. Research shows eating fish twice a week can help fight heart disease, the number one cause of death in America.

Potassium: According to Salge-Blake, you might want to pair that fish with potatoes or dairy. “Those are your potassium powerhouses,” she said. Research shows potassium can keep blood pressure low to protect your heart and help to avoid strokes.

Don’t Skip Vacation: The Framingham Heart Study showed women who took fewer vacations were more likely to develop heart disease.

Drink Coffee: Studies have shown coffee can reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. But those fancy coffee drinks can pack on added sugar which will erase any of those health benefits.

Go to Church: Research shows attending services once a week adds between four and fourteen years to your life.

Throw out the Throw Rug: As we get older, those small rugs are responsible for thousands of emergency room visits a year.

Be Social: Numerous studies have shown strong relationships with friends and family can cut your risk of dying by 50-percent.

See a Female Doctor: A Harvard study shows hospital patients with doctors who are women are more likely to survive. Mass General Doctor Elizabeth Roth says all doctors care about their patients but women might have a bit of a different approach. “I think we are really good listeners and I think we spend a lot of time with our patients,” she said.

The full list:

  1. Read a Book – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616303689
  2. Get a Pet – http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/05/09/CIR.0b013e31829201e1
  3. Have Sex – http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c810
  4. Get Married – http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/4800-people-who-give-live-longer-u-m-study-shows
  5. Laugh – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1201429/
  6. Eat Fish – https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/eat-fish-live-longer-674932.html
  7. Potassium – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1627756
  8. Take a Vacation – http://people.umass.edu/econ340/vacations_health.pdf
  9. Drink Coffee – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315300.php
  10. Or Tea – http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/daily-tea-drinkers-may-have-healthier-hearts
  11. Go to Church – http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2521827
  12. Throw rugs – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3591732/
  13. Female Doctors – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/hospitalized-patients-female-physicians-lower-mortality-readmission/
  14. Eat Nuts – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/
  15. Go to College – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435622/
  16. Be optimistic – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-heart/201309/optimism-may-increase-longevity-0
  17. Go for a jog – http://time.com/4738255/running-increased-lifespan-study/
  18. Increase Vitamin D – http://neurosciencenews.com/vitamin-d-geneitcs-longevity-5354/
  19. Eat Spicy Foods – http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3942
  20. Take care of Grandchildren – http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3942
  21. Embrace Social Media – http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/live_long_and_facebook
  22. Take Ibuprofen for your headache – http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1004860
  23. Skip the Soda – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/16/sugar-soft-drinks-dna-ageing-study
  24. Ride Bike to Work – https://www.studyfinds.org/bike-commute-cancer-death-study/
  25. Have Good Personal Relationships – http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships
  26. Be Grateful – http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/03/the-grateful-life-may-be-a-longer-one/
  27. Don’t Worry about Big Thighs – http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/big-thighs-may-be-wise
  28. Life Weights – http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/want-to-live-longer-and-better-strength-train
  29. Don’t Retire at 65 – https://hbr.org/2016/10/youre-likely-to-live-longer-if-you-retire-after-65
  30. Don’t Worry About those Five Extra Pounds – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/could-a-few-extra-pounds-help-you-live-longer/
  31. Get a Hobby – https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/participating-activities-you-enjoy
  32. Play Tennis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2016-11-30-want-to-live-longer-try-racquet-sports-recommends-study/
  33. Live in a Leafy Neighborhood – http://www.biospace.com/News/living-in-a-green-neighborhood-linked-to-a-longer/415833
  34. Don’t smoke – http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/4-top-ways-to-live-longer
  35. Get out of Your Chair – https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/11_0323.htm
  36. Have Fit Friends – http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/25/health/25iht-fat.4.6830240.html
  37. Skip the Processed Meat – https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-health-organization-says-processed-meat-causes-cancer.html
  38. Be Mindful – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindfulness-in-frantic-world/201202/the-seven-mindful-steps-enhancing-your-life-expectancy
  39. Help Others – https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/emotional/rakhealthfacts.pdf
  40. Don’t be a Helicopter parent – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/mood-and-mind/why-being-the-perfect-parent-can-be-bad-for-your-health/
  41. Have Children – http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/5/424
  42. Avoid the Overnight Shift – https://www.chronobiology.com/working-the-night-shift-may-affect-your-lifespan/
  43. Don’t Hold in Your Anger – http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/expressing-anger-can-add-years-life
  44. Be Forgiving – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201301/live-longer-practicing-forgiveness
  45. Find a Work/Life Balance – https://www.fastcompany.com/3064755/study-finds-work-life-balance-could-be-a-matter-of-life-and-death
  46. Go Ahead and Cry – http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/how-crying-can-make-you-healthier-1009169.html
  47. Love your Job – http://www.johnballardphd.com/blog/job-satisfaction-and-longevity
  48. Don’t Worry – http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20120731/mild-anxiety-may-shorten-persons-life#1
  49. Get a Good Night’s Sleep – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067693/
  50. DON’T SMOKE
More from Dr. Mallika Marshall
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