4 Pillars To A Longer, Healthier Life - Backed By Science


There is an overabundance of information related to healthy living out there. Sift through all the information, and you'll find that we generally agree that there are 4 pillars that determine how long and how well we can live. Follow these four pillars and you should be in good shape.

The 4 pillars are diet, physical activity, sleep and meaningful relationships. The challenge many of us get caught up in is determining what type of diet or exercise is best? How much sleep is too little or too much? What type of relationship is good for me? The answer is there is no one best. But in this article we'll give you a few rules of thumb to help simplify and model your behavior.


There really is no secret here, and in general we all know what to do, it's just hard doing it. Avoid too many (but not all) processed sugars, saturated fats, and highly processed foods and meats. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans fish and lean meats.

Rules of Thumb:

  • Longevity: 2 fruits and three vegetables a day (research here)
  • Avoid cognitive decline: Leafy green vegetable once a day, berries twice a week, nuts 5 times a week, whole grains 3 times a day (research here)
  • In all cases limit (to around once per week) butter, margarine, cheese, red meet, fried food, pastries and sweets


Like diets, there are more exercise routines out there than snow flakes in the arctic. If they get you motivated fine. That said, they are not necessary. Just get moving every day. Find a sport, a hobby like gardening or simply walk with a friend or to the store - they all count.

Rules of Thumb:

  • Healthy Aging: 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week (walking, swimming, pickleball) and muscle strengthening exercises (all major body parts - legs, back, shoulders, core, arms) 2 times a week (research here).
  • Longevity: 15 minutes of walking a day (research here).


Want a quick way to improve your energy, mood, sharpness, memory and emotional health? Get a good night's sleep. Easier said than done for many, but critical to your well being.

Rules of Thumb:

  • So how much sleep is recommended? It may vary by age and gender but in general the recommended amount is 7-8 hours per night (research here).


Loneliness and toxic relationships are death sentences - literally. Want to live a happy and healthy life? Develop deep and meaningful relationships with family, friends and community.

Rules of Thumb:

  • Social connections are good for you and loneliness kills.
  • It's not the number of friends you have or the years you been married, it's the quality of those relationships. Good, warm relationships are protective.
  • Good relationships don't just protect our bodies, they also protect our brains and help us stay sharper longer (research here).