Longevity is in your hands
When we picture ourselves growing older, we might look to our parents or grandparents to give us an idea of how healthy—or not—we will be. But exciting new research is finding that our genes are not our destiny—not by a long shot.
A couple of recent examples: Even if you’re born with the genetic variant for high blood pressure—a condition that strongly predicts a shorter lifespan—lifestyle factors such as smoking and inactivity also have an effect on whether you’ll actually develop high blood pressure, according to a large, long-term study released in June from the University of North Carolina. And a joint 2008 study from the University of California and the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito found that lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, relaxing meditation and a plant-based diet switched off cancer-promoting genes in men who had had prostate cancer, and turned on disease-prevention ones.
Here are 10 physical, emotional and social changes you can start making right now to help maximize your chances for a long and healthy life.