There's a good reason you avoid bad habits like smoking, eating crap, being inactive, and binge drinking (well, post-college). Besides wanting to look h-o-t hot in a bikini this summer, you want to live longer too. And the reward for not succumbing to these four risky behaviors is gaining up to 10 years on your life, according to a Swiss study recently published in Preventative Medicine.
University of Zurich researchers observed nearly 17,000 subjects for 16 years and found that life expectancy can drastically change depending on how many of the risk factors—smoking, poor diet, inactivity, alcohol consumption—you subscribe to regularly. For example, a 75-year-old woman had a very high chance of surviving the next 10 years if she lived a healthy lifestyle. However, if she chose to engage in any of the four risk factors, her odds of living another decade dropped by more than 60 percent. Of all the vices, smoking seemed to be the most harmful.
Another 30-year study, however, reported in the journal PLoS Medicine that carrying roughly an extra 100 pounds shared the same fatal fate as a smoker who's not overweight. Extreme obesity, which is defined of a BMI above 40, may shorten a normal lifespan by as much as 14 years due to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic conditions caused with the added weight. Before this study, little research had been done on the mortality rates for the extremely obese, which affects six percent of the U.S. population.
The bottom line: You have more control than you think over your how long you want to play on this planet. Whatever you're already doing—hitting the gym, eating right, stopping after two glasses of wine—is good for you. Now you know just how good.