We’ve all been told how bad some things are for our health… but sometimes it’s hard to listen. Perhaps some new research might help spur you to follow these health tips.

By making the big four lifestyle changes – no smoking, regular exercise, healthy eating and managing your weight – you could reduce your risk of an early death by nearly 50 percent. This according to research by a team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital that looked at not just one lifestyle choice, but all four commonly suggested for staying healthy and active.

The work appears on the British Medical Journal website and covers a study that ran an astonishing 24 years and involved nearly 80,000 nurses. Participants filled out detailed follow up questionnaires every two years that covered their diet, frequency of workouts, alcohol intake, their weight, if they smoked and any disease development. Over the study period, 8,882 of the women died, including 1,790 from heart disease and 4,527 from cancer.

Smoking played the biggest role in the women’s deaths, and alcohol consumption seemed to have the least influence. In fact, a moderate level of drinking, one drink per day, seemed incredibly to provide some protection from heart disease.
According to the research, following all four health tips could result in a reduction of…

– 44 percent of cancer deaths

– 72 percent of cardiovascular deaths

“These findings underscore the importance of intensifying both efforts to eradicate cigarette smoking and those aimed at improving diet and physical activity,” Dr. Rob van Dam and colleagues wrote in the British Medical Journal.

It’s common sense… maddeningly simple… now if only our willpower matched our desire for staying healthy! Even if you can’t manage to follow all four healthy tips right now, try to do some things to help yourself get active, eat better and limit those nasty vices. And take heart… “Even modest differences in lifestyle can have a substantial impact on reducing mortality rates,” the study’s authors write.