Win the Clock: Simple Daily Choices for a Longer Life

Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life, but what if you could actually calculate how certain daily habits might be affecting your life expectancy? According to David Spiegelhalter, a statistical researcher at the University of Cambridge, you can gain some insights into how your habits might influence your longevity prospects by looking closely at how they increase or decrease your aging “speed.”

Bad habits: Watching TV and smoking

Let’s start with some of the worst offenders: watching TV and smoking cigarettes. Research indicates that each minute of TV you watch can reduce your probable longevity by 15 seconds. That means that watching two hours of television daily could slice half an hour off your life expectancy.

Smoking also negatively impacts your life expectancy in a significant way. Spiegelhalter states that smoking two cigarettes can bring down your life expectancy by half an hour as well. So if you smoke a pack of 20 cigarettes daily, you’re essentially accelerating your journey toward your death at a rate of 29 hours a day rather than the natural 24 hours.

Good habits: Moderate alcohol consumption, a healthy diet, and exercise

Fortunately, you can counter some of these detrimental effects by adopting positive habits. One such habit is moderate alcohol consumption: by drinking just one glass of wine (or another alcoholic beverage) a day, you can actually add half an hour to your life expectancy.

Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables also contributes to a longer life expectancy. Numerous studies have shown that plant-based diets are associated with various health benefits, including improved heart health and a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least 4-5 servings each of fruits and vegetables daily. By doing so, you can fill your body with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help fight off diseases and slow the aging process. Learn more about the importance of a plant-based diet

In addition, engaging in regular exercise can drastically improve your life expectancy. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity a week, as suggested by the American Heart Association. Activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling can not only help you maintain a healthy weight but also strengthen your bones and muscles, reduce stress and improve your mental health. Learn more about the benefits of exercise

By adopting these healthier habits, Spiegelhalter asserts that you’ll age more slowly, moving through life at less than 24 hours each day.

Calculating your aging speed

Interested in figuring out how fast you’re aging based on your unique mix of habits? You can use Spiegelhalter’s online calculator to input some basic information about yourself and your lifestyle. This tool will then crunch the numbers and give you an estimation of how your habits are affecting your life expectancy.

As you assess the calculated result, be mindful that it doesn’t give a guarantee or a specific prediction, but rather serves as a general guide that can provide insight into how adopting or eliminating certain habits could impact your longevity.

The takeaway

While it may not be possible to predict the exact number of years you’ll live, understanding the relationship between your daily habits and your life expectancy can empower you to make meaningful choices that enhance your overall well-being and longevity. Focus on forming healthy habits such as moderate alcohol consumption, proper nutrition, and regular exercise to give yourself the best chances for a long and fulfilling life. Remember that it’s never too late to start improving your lifestyle and make positive changes for your health.