Dr. Ratini is a member of the WebMD medical review team and is responsible for ensuring the medical accuracy of WebMD’s news and feature stories. As a family practitioner, Ratini has been seeing patients since 1986.
Protect Your DNA
As you age, the ends of your chromosomes become shorter. This makes you more likely to get sick. But lifestyle changes can boost an enzyme that makes them longer. Plus, studies show diet and exercise can help protect them.
The bottom line: Healthy habits may slow aging at the cellular level.
Play to Win
An 80-year study found people who are conscientious — meaning they pay attention to detail, think things through, and try to do what’s right — live longer. They do more for their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers.
Here’s another reason to be grateful for your friends: They might help you live longer. Dozens of studies show a clear link between strong social ties and a longer life. So make the time to keep in touch.
Choose Friends Wisely
Your friends’ habits rub off on you, so look for buddies with healthy lifestyles. Your chances of becoming obese go up if you have a friend who adds extra pounds. Smoking also spreads through social ties, but quitting is also contagious.
We know giving up cigarettes can lengthen your life, but by how much may surprise you. A 50-year British study shows that quitting at age 30 could give you an entire decade. Kicking the habit at age 40, 50, or 60 can add 9, 6, or 3 years to your life, respectively.
Embrace the Art of the Nap
A siesta is standard in many parts of the world, and now there’s scientific evidence that napping may help you live longer.
One study showed that those who had a regular snooze were 37% less likely to die from heart disease than those who rarely steal a few winks. Researchers think naps might help your heart by keeping stress hormones down.
Follow a Mediterranean Diet
It’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish …