(BOSTON) -- We've been bombarded over the years with warnings about all the things we shouldn't do to protect our health and help us live longer, such as smoking, eating the wrong foods, drinking too much alcohol, and so forth.
Now, someone has taken a look at the opposite side of that coin to see whether the positive things we can do can be as important as the negative things we shouldn't do.
And here's what they found: believing you are in control of your own life, maintaining strong social ties to friends and family, and getting off the couch for vigorous exercise can delay the effects of aging by at least a decade.
So what it all means is what you do today -- not just what you shouldn't do -- will determine what you are tomorrow. And the research suggests this is probably a lifelong process, so it's never too soon to get started.
Psychologists Margie E. Lachman and Stefan Agrigoroaei of Brandeis University in Boston delved into the Midlife Development in the United States study (MIDUS), a national interagency resource involving 3,626 adults aged 32-84 who were interviewed in two sessions about 10 years apart, to see what role positive factors played in their health.
They focused on "what to do rather than what not to do," according to their study published in the current PloS ONE, an open access science journal.
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