1. Stand up while reading articles like this one ...and (especially) while watching TV.
Australian researchers determined that every hour of couch-potato-ness docks 21.8 minutes
from a person's life.
2. Join a book club.
People with a solid group of friends are 50 percent more likely to survive at any given time than those without one, found Carlin Flora while researching her book Friendfluence
. Researchers from Brigham Young University calculated that being a loner is an equivalent mortality risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, says Flora—even riskier than being obese or not exercising.
3. Better yet, join a French Words et Wine or Mandarin for Beginners group.
Canadian scientists used CT scans to compare the brains of bilingual and monolingual Alzheimer's patients and found that being able to speak multiple languages seemed to keep patients cognitively agile
for longer. Protective benefits start in childhood, but the research suggests that picking up a new language later in life may also help stave off dementia
4. Nurture your java habit...
Drinking four cups of brewed coffee (or the amount of caffeine that you'd get in one Starbucks venti
) a day has been linked to as much as a 50 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
, a 25 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer
, and a 20 percent lower risk for depression
. (Keep in mind that this daily amount may cause those who are new to the coffee habit to feel jittery and have trouble sleeping.)
5. ...or fill your mug with tea.
In a study of more than 40,500 Japanese men and women, those who drank five or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying
from heart disease and stroke. Other studies involving black tea showed similar results
—but adding milk may cancel out tea's cardiovascular benefits
. Whatever color tea you choose, drink it black, or with honey and lemon.