10 habits for a longer life

October 15, 2012

Mark L. Friedman, MD, FACEP, FACP

There is an amazing amount of advice on the Internet about this topic, touting everything from cherry juice to meditation. My own advice is based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Report and my 30 years of experience practicing medicine.

I don't mean to be negative, but some of the "habits" are what you should not do. Let's start with the positives:


1) Always buckle your seat belt.
2) Regularly monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
3) Maintain a healthy weight.
4) Get appropriate health screenings based on your risk (your primary care doctor should do this).
5) Exercise regularly. The ideal program for you may be best tailored by your doctor.

6) Smoke (cigarettes or marijuana) "“ both bad for your lungs, heart, and vasculature (the rest of your body).
7) Drink too much alcohol. How much is too much? Read more here.
8) Carry / keep a loaded gun.
9) Ride motorcycles.
10) Sweat the small stuff. Stress can negatively impact your health in many ways, including increasing your risk of heart disease, sleep disorders, digestive issues, depression, obesity, and more.

Now, where to start? Feel good about the habits you already do (or don't do). Pick one or two off the list that need work and begin on those. Work on the list as best you can over time. And enjoy your life and health.

Originally published Oct 15, 2012 10:00:11 AM.