Bad lifestyle choices have been connected with shortening our lives for as long as we can remember. Smoking, eating, exercising and drinking alcohol all play a part in how healthy or unhealthy we are (whether we like it or not).
A new study out of PLOS Medicine not only reaffirmed that these bad habits can shorten our lives, but it honed in on exactly how much of our lives we’re losing because of them. Researchers studied and followed up with around one million people and assessed an additional 90,000 people through the 2010 national survey. All in all, they found that Canadians are losing six years of life on average just for making unhealthy decisions. Six whole freaking years. Imagine what you could do in those six years–all the cities you could visit; all the memories you could make.
On average, 26 per cent of deaths in Canada are credited to smoking, 24 per cent to physical activity and 12 per cent to having a poor diet. But it isn’t all bad news.
The study also compared those who lived the healthiest of lifestyles with those who didn’t. And get this–extra healthy lifestyles gave people an additional 17.9 years of life (approximately). So good news for all you healthy eaters and fitness lovers! That means you won’t just keep those six years of your life by living healthily, you’ll actually add on to your life too!
And if you aren’t making those healthy choices just yet, it isn’t too late to get yourself back on track–it never really is.
Fun fact: The Ottawa Hospital updated ‘Project Big Life,’ an online life expectancy calculator, to predict how long you’ll live based on the new study. But this is more than a game to try out when you’re bored (after all, it’s now backed up by science). It’s a real assessment of your health to see how your regular lifestyle will play out in the long run. If you ask us, it could be worth a try if you’re concerned about your own health habits.
Check out the video above to learn more about how bad and good habits can change your life expectancy.