As you get older, it can feel more difficult to adopt new habits or break longstanding old ones—especially when it comes to your health. You tell yourself that you’re too old to take up jogging or that you missed the boat on yoga. There’s often a tendency to stick to what you know, doing the things you’re used to whether they are good for your health or not. But while age can play a factor in your ability to engage in some activities, making healthy lifestyle choices isn’t one of them. In fact, there may not be a better time than right now to start changing your ways. It could even mean adding years to your life.
For example, the researchers at the Johns Hopkins Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis observed the behaviors of more than 6,000 men and women between the ages of 44 and 84 over a period of seven years. In less than a decade, the team found overwhelming evidence that making healthy choices later in life had enormous benefits. Doing things like quitting smoking, following a Mediterranean diet, and getting regular exercise actually decreased an individual’s risk of death during the course of the study by 80 percent, the researchers said. With that motivation in mind, it’s time to cut out the excuses and get to work on these five healthy lifestyle choices you can make at any age. And for more things you can do to improve your health, check out 50 Important Habits Linked to a Longer Life.