Women: How to Look Younger and Live Longer

By Nicky Morris

Did you know, that making simple changes to your lifestyle can keep you healthier and younger.

It doesn't take a doctor to tell you that being overweight, smoking, drinking too much and lack of exercise will contribute to poor health. But how do all these different factors increase the chances of dying?

A team of researchers came together from the National Institutes of Health and Human Services, and the National Cancer Institute to investigate this very question. They've been reviewing the factors that may have an impact on either decreasing or increasing the life expectancy of older women.

The research team stated: "Our goal was to assess the relative strength and joint contributions of factors on the risk of death in postmenopausal women". The main areas of interest to the researchers were those things affecting life expectancy that could be easily changed for example through exercise or diet.

What contributes most to a long life?

It was a sizeable study, composed of nearly 18,000 women, with mean age of 68.

Of all the high risk factors, those that could be changed easily were: smoking, being overweight with fat stored in the abdominal area, being unfit, and having high blood pressure.

What can you do reduce these risk factors?

Fortunately, the researchers demonstrated that a few relatively small changes to your lifestyle can have a significant impact on not just your health, but also your life expectancy.


Begin exercising. All forms of exercise are good for you, in moderation of course. And did you know that even just a 30 minute walk each day has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce the progression of dementia and diabetes, reduces depression and anxiety, as well as reducing arthritic pain. It also helps you lose weight, which takes us to the next points.

Drop a few dress sizes. The researchers noted in the study, that it's good to lose that 'tummy fat', as according to results of other studies, carrying fat around the waist is a key factor in increasing the risk of heart disease.

Balancing high blood pressure, this can be achieved by exercise, cutting back on sugary, salty and fatty foods, and by not smoking.

Quit smoking. For smokers, giving up dramatically reduces the risks of cancers and heart disease. It's never too late.

Out of these four, the researchers raised smoking as one most damaging to your health. Smoking causes 25% of cancer deaths among women. The researchers said: "The strong association of smoking with mortality is a critical reminder that smoking is the most important modifiable risk factor that physicians and society should address, even in older women." (Arch Intern Med 2006;2469-77)

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