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Live longer: Top 7 habits to lead a healthier life

March 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Roland Sarlot is 82 and works out three to four times a week. He says he's been pretty active most of his life. Sarlot's workouts may be just one habit that has kept him going all these years, according to a new study.

This study of 45,000 Americans spanning 22 years has revealed seven heart-healthy behaviors associated with a longer life.

In general, the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends:

1. Keeping your blood pressure below 120 over 80
2. Maintaining a fasting blood sugar less than 100
3. Aiming for a total cholesterol less than 200
4. Participating in regular physical activity
5. Keeping weight in check
6. Not smoking
7. Eating a moderate amount calories

As suspected, individuals who met six of the seven healthy measurements were 76 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 51 percent less likely to die from any other cause, including cancer.

"If you follow these seven measurements, if you incorporate them into your life, not only will you live a longer life, but you will live a healthier life," said Glendale Adventist cardiologist Arsen Hovanesyan.

Hovanesyan recommends the average person eat about 2,000 calories or a little less per day. This may be the toughest challenge facing Americans, but he says eating less can prevent many diseases.

"I think the biggest enemy today is calories, too many calories. We're eating too much. It's a part of the American diet, it's a part of the American way of life," he said. "Everything we eat creates an oxidative stress inside our arteries."

As for the proper amount of exercise, Hovanesyan recommends 30 minutes four to five times a week. He says any sweat-breaking activity is a good one.

Meanwhile, Sarlot is looking at 82 and beyond. He says the report is great news since he follows all seven of these healthy behaviors, but he's got even more advice.

"Keep yourself alive, don't bury yourself in the house," Sarlot said. "Get out and enjoy life."

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