5 Action Steps to Live Longer!

How would you like to add 14 years to your life?

We often don’t think about longevity until we have a health scare or someone close to us is diagnosed with cancer or suffers a heart attack. It is said that ‘when we are young, we will sacrifice our health for wealth and then when older, we’ll sacrifice wealth for good health.’ If we are sick and suffering from disease, it makes life very difficult. 

The good news is that a Harvard study published in Circulation found that a woman who adopts the following 5 habits at 50 years old would live 14 years longer and a man would add 12.2 years to his life compared to those who do not commit to these healthy behaviors. Many other studies have corroborated these findings. 


5 Action Steps to Live Longer

1 – Adhere to a healthy diet

The Mediterranean Diet, a diet high in produce, legumes, fish, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats, and low in red and processed meats, sugar, salt and saturated fats tends to get the highest marks in terms of ease to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.

2 – Exercise regularly

It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity to vigorous physical activity.

3 – Do not smoke

The lowest risk is found in those who have never smoked.

4 – Limit alcohol intake

The lowest risk is found in women who drink less than one alcoholic drink per day and men who drink less than two alcoholic drinks per day

5 – Maintain a healthy body weight

Ideal body weight with the lowest risk was determined using Body Mass Index with a value of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2.


Few individuals in the study followed all five behaviors, and good news, there were benefits associated with adopting just one of the behaviors. However, the more healthy initiatives you adopt, the greater the benefit, and those who followed all five behaviors, lived longer. 

It’s important to note that not all five behaviors are created equally. If you had to choose one habit to adopt immediately that would have the greatest impact on your health and longevity, it would be to stop smoking or never start. 


Where to start?

You don’t have to focus on all five areas immediately. You could choose one, two or more habits and focus your energy there.

It’s important to remember that every workout you do, and every healthy choice you make for what goes into your mouth, will take you closer to living your best life. Even a small success, will give you the confidence and self-esteem to know you can accomplish the next goal.

It is all about “Results Momentum”.  If you set a small goal and accomplish that goal – even a very small action step – when you complete it, you have succeeded. This will give you momentum so the next goal becomes that much easier.

Think of this process as a series of very small baby steps and each one takes you closer and closer to living a long, healthy life! Putting years into your life and life into your years! You got this!


Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 30 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and Salmon Creek, hosts races at WHY Racing Events, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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