The premise behind Staples’ Easy Button is . . . easy. If you have a problem (generally office-related), you can slap the button, and everything will be taken care of automatically. Your ink will be refilled, paper replenished or copier fixed. Wouldn’t it be nice if that existed in the real world, not just for your office but for your health as well? If there was one simple thing you could do to make your life better and longer, wouldn’t you do it in a heartbeat? Well, there is . . . sort of.
Researchers have found that taking four simple steps will add 14 years to your life. They studied 20,000 healthy men and women, noting their level of activity, the number of fruits and vegetables they consumed, their drinking habits and whether or not they smoked. For each healthy habit, an individual received one point, giving him a maximum possible score of four. Once the totals were tallied, it was found that someone with a score of zero had the same risk of dying as someone 14 years older with a score of four, leading the scientists to assert that making a few small changes could add years to your life.
If you’re interested in living longer, you should take the steps necessary to ensure that your score would be four; it doesn’t take much. For the study, being active meant having a sedentary job but exercising for 30 minutes a day, or simply having an active career, such as nursing or construction. Eating fruits and vegetables took the minimum of five rather than nine (although shooting for nine isn’t a bad thing), and drinking moderately limited the individual to seven glasses a week. The biggest and possibly most difficult change, then, would be quitting smoking. That will take the most effort, since it’s an addiction you have to break. But if you manage to do it, you’ll better your wellbeing by 80 percent. That’s quite an incentive.
So hit the Easy Button for life and live longer. Live to see your granddaughter’s wedding, your 100th birthday and 14 more years of health.