What is THE Most Significant Health Habit for Longevity?


What is the most significant health habit that contributes the most years to human longevity?

longevity and mortality risk
Habits of Health
Roy Vartabedian, DrPH, MPH
12 months ago

7 answers


Strength training - bar none!! Regular physical activity promotes general good health, reduces the risk of developing many diseases, and helps you live a longer and healthier life. For many people, "exercise" means walking, jogging, treadmill work, or other activities that get the heart pumping.

However, what is often overlooked is the value of strength-building exercises. Once you reach your 50s and beyond, strength (or resistance training is critical to preserving the ability to perform the most ordinary activities of daily living — and to maintaining an active and independent lifestyle.

The average 30-year-old will lose about a quarter of his or her muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. Simply doing aerobic exercise is not enough. It is important to incorporate strength training to stay strong and slow down the aging process.

Sherry Granader
12 months ago
Excellent info. Thank you, Sherry! - Roy 12 months ago
Walking - Dr. David E. 12 months ago
Very doable for eveyone at any age, David. - Roy 12 months ago
Thanks - Close mouth, too - Dr. David E. 12 months ago
Walking is excellent-it is considered a weight-bearing exercise. Incorporating strength training at least twice a week along with the walking would be even better. - Sherry 12 months ago
Thanks. And, avoid moral hazards. - Dr. David E. 12 months ago
Exercise is important as it helps to improve blood circulation but also great for strength training. Besides pure weight strength training, one could opt for simple exercise such as plank. - Chun 12 months ago
Thanks for the info - Dr. David E. 12 months ago

Healthy diet is imperative for longevity, For example the Mediterranean diet which are high in fruits, vegetables and monounsaturated fat from the olive oil are pack with essentials vitamins, minerals and also antioxidant. Furthermore, the Japanese diet which is low in saturated fats is also a vital factor to be address. The south Americana diet which are high in fiber (typically from beans) and low in meat is another great example where people living in these countries poses longer life expectancy.

Lawrence Loy
12 months ago
Yes, Lawrence, diet is very significant I agree. The research of Dan Buettner of Blue Zones ( has found that of the top centenarians of the world, the diets of Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria, Greece, Nicoya Penninsula, Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, CA, all have a diet high in plant-based whole foods and low in meat. Diet is a major for centenarians longevity. - Roy 12 months ago
Peruan diet is another example! Plant base whole food is healthier as they are easier to digest, provide fibers and phytonutrients which are needed to slow down the aging process - Chun 12 months ago
Thanks for that input, Chun. - Roy 12 months ago

What about sleep?

Roy Vartabedian, DrPH, MPH
12 months ago
Sleep is extremely important - aim for at least 8-9 hours every night. Turn off the computer at least one hour before bedtime. Avoid reading a book on an iPad where that blue light engulfs your face. It depletes melatonin levels making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. - Sherry 12 months ago
Well said! Poor sleep quality and quantity are deleterious to our health! - Lawrence 12 months ago
From what I've read, 6 hours per night is a minimum to prevent illness, and 7-9 is the best for optimal function. I believe sleep is essential to protect out telomeres. - Roy 12 months ago

Here's how I would rank the top 5 health habits for longevity in order of importance:

  1. Nutrient-dense diet
  2. Exercise: both general activity and strength training
  3. Adequate sleep (7-9 hours/night)
  4. Moderate stress level
  5. Healthy environment

Anyone else like to do their own ranking?

Roy Vartabedian, DrPH, MPH
12 months ago
Agreed! - Chun 12 months ago
Thanks, Chun. - Roy 12 months ago

What are some other ideas from the Longevity experts out there?

Roy Vartabedian, DrPH, MPH
12 months ago
Genetics! - Dr. David E. 12 months ago
Health habits... - Roy 12 months ago
Eat less - walk more - avoid moral hazards! - Dr. David E. 12 months ago

Unfortunately, many people are eating way too many heavily refined and processed foods. These foods not only lack the nutrients our bodies need to thrive, but they’re also packed with sugar, rancid oils, and many other nasty chemicals (i.e., flavors, emulsifiers, colors, preservatives, pesticides, etc.) that negatively contribute to the aging process.

When you eat these foods, you’re giving your body an unnecessary dose of free radicals and that leads to cellular damage – skin cell damage, brain cell damage, connective tissue damage, and so on.

Free radical damage leads to inflammation and oxidative stress, which are often at the root of almost every modern disease that not only shorten your life, but also significantly reduce your quality of life.

Sherry Granader
12 months ago
Pretty much on par - Dr. David E. 12 months ago
Thank you, Sherry. - Roy 12 months ago
You are welcome. My most requested topic as a Speaker is "Prepare To Live Longer....And Do It Well." - Sherry 12 months ago
Congrats - Dr. David E. 12 months ago

Healthy diet ( now one can always argue on the definition of healthy diet but lets say a diet that gives you all the nutrition and can easily be digested), And, workout of any form ( exercise, yoga, etc).

Bottom line is watch what you eat and keep moving your body.

Hitesh Mathpal
12 months ago
Yes, your diet not only fuels your body, but it recreates it as we turn over cells and components of cells with ingredients in our diets. Thus the quality of what we eat determines the quality of our bodies (you are what you eat). Moving the body keeps it strong and functioning well (use it or lose it) and has many positive side benefits.. - Roy 12 months ago

Have some input?