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5 tips to live longer and better, according to science

1) Exercise

In a systematic review from 2017, and reviewing 725,074 cancer cases in 22 anatomical locations, regular exercise was strongly associated with the reduction of 2 types of cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer.

In addition, if the exercise is intense, it has greater benefit. In a specific group of about 5,000 people, when comparing vigorous exercise versus low-intensity exercise, vigorous exercise reduced mortality by 40%.


Scott JM, Li N, Liu Q, et al. Association of Exercise With Mortality in Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer. JAMA Oncol. 2018;4(10):1352–1358. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2254

Rezende LFMD, Sá THD, Markozannes G, et al Physical activity and cancer: an umbrella review of the literature including 22 major anatomical sites and 770 000 cancer cases British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:826-833.

2) 7,500 steps a day

According to a review of 16,741 women with a mean age of 72 years, the greater number of steps, the lower mortality, a relationship that is maintained up to approximately 7,500 steps


Lee I, Shiroma EJ, Kamada M, Bassett DR, Matthews CE, Buring JE. Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 29, 2019179(8):1105–1112. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0899

3) Sauna baths

The evidence says that the greater number of sauna baths, the lower incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality. This effect is even seen in the length of time inside a sauna. The longer the duration, the lower the mortality.

Critical note: Probably if you are not used to taking sauna baths, don't make the mistake of thinking that you will live longer after 1 marathon session. His lifespan will probably be shortened by acute dehydration.


Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events.

JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):542–548. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8187

4) Avoid shift work

The world health organization through the IARC organization (international agency for research on cancer) categorizes shift work as probably carcinogenic. The role of disruption of the circadian cycle (the body's natural cycle in response to light) has not been fully elucidated, but the report and statement is surprising. Night Shift Work Probably Causes Cancer

Within the mechanism to deregulate the body is circadian disruption.

The body's regulatory hormones are influenced by the circadian cycle, which is strongly influenced by sleep-wake patterns. This results in specific problems with shift work, some examples:

- Cardiovascular disease:

In a systematic review involving 2 million people, it was concluded that night work is linked to heart disease and vascular accidents.

- Obesity.

The association between obesity or overweight and night work is relatively clear.

- Breast cancer.

The evidence is controversial. There are reviews that support the thesis that long years on the night shift favor the appearance of cancer. There are also publications that speak of the limited evidence of the previous association. In Denmark, workers with breast cancer and a history of shift work have been compensated.

- Colorectal cancer:

There are some studies regarding the association between colorectal cancer and night work.

- Prostate cancer:

There are some studies that show an association of an increase of 2.8% for every 5 years of night shift work.


Vyas Manav V, Garg Amit X, Iansavichus Arthur V, Costella John, Donner Allan, Laugsand Lars E et al. Shift work and vascular events: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2012; 345 :e4800

Sun, M., Feng, W., Wang, F., Li, P., Li, Z., Li, M., Tse, G., Vlaanderen, J., Vermeulen, R., and Tse, L. A. (2018) Meta‐analysis on shift work and risks of specific obesity types. Obesity Reviews, 19: 28–40. doi: 10.1111/obr.12621.

5) Study

By monitoring the population of the Framingham study since 1975, it has been possible to observe that over three decades, the incidence of dementia has been decreasing from 3.6 per 100 people to 2 per 100 people in the period 2000-2010 .

There is an important observation to make. The decreasing incidence is only seen in patients with a completed high school educational level.

It also seems that the prevalence of cardiovascular risk also behaves in the same way, with educational level being a protective factor. The exception is diabetes mellitus and obesity, whose incidence has been increasing over time.

In addition to playing sports, we have to study. Science says so.


Satizabal CL, et al. Incidence of dementia over three decades in the Framingham Heart Study. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(6):523–32.

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