8 ways to add years to your life

Women's lifespans improving at slower rates than men's

Posted: 5:37 AM EDT Mar 12, 2013   Updated: 8:15 AM EDT Mar 12, 2013

Want to live a longer and better life?

The average American woman can expect to live to about age 80. Doesn't sound long enough? How long DO you want to live?

If you want to make it that  far, you might want to work on it now.

First up: Ditch the cigarettes. Lighting up kills just under half a million people in the U.S. each year.

“That’s more than the auto accidents, that’s more than HIV, that’s more than all the murders combined!” said Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Dr. G.. Medical Examiner.

New research shows women who stop smoking before 40 live a decade longer than those who keep puffing.

Also, drink up!

Moderate drinkers slash their risk of heart disease by up to 40 percent. Try red wine from Madiran, France. It has up to five times as many of the antioxidants that improve blood vessel function.

Also, do your own housework!

A recent study found 150 calories worth of chores a day can lower high blood pressure by 13 points for eight hours.

University of Maryland scientists found watching 15 minutes of funny videos can improve blood flow to your heart by 50 percent.

A 30-minute nap can also reduce heart mortality by 37 percent, and Purdue scientists found constant worrying shortens your lifespan by about 16 years.

Lastly, maintain a healthy waistline.

"Measure your waistline around where the navel is," said Dr. Holly Andersen, The Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute.

That number should be less than half your height. So if you're 5-2, your waist should be less than 31 inches.

Another tip? Stand up as often as you can. One Canadian researcher found cutting the amount of time you sit can lower your risk of prostate cancer by 10 percent, lung cancer by 20 percent and colon cancer by 30 percent.

A British study also found on average your life expectancy decreases nearly 22 minutes with every hour of television you watch!

Additional tips for living longer