There’s no key to eternal life (yet - scientists are still working on it). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your fate is entirely out of your hands. By taking particular steps to improve your health that may not necessarily be obvious, you can extend your life by several years.

Humans are increasingly likely to make it into their centennial years as our understanding of our bodies and ourselves improves. In the meantime, here are five science-backed tips to help lengthen your life and increase your chances of making it to the big 1-0-0.

  1. Keep a little excess weight around

As surprising as it seems, science indicates that having a BMI in the overweight range rather than the normal weight range may actually extend your life. According to a study that was published and widely announced in early 2013, a massive study found that being moderately overweight improved your lifespan by 6 percent (and being mildly obese did not significantly shorten your lifespan, either). Although scientists still haven’t fully understood why this is - in fact, many scientists prefer to explain or dismiss the statistical significance, according to Independent magazine - some scientists suggest that a small amount of extra weight can protect the heart. You can use dual diagnosis for this. For more information on their program, check their website.

  1. Have a healthy (and rich) lineage

Of all the factors to health, this is the least controllable. Having healthy parents - that is, parents who had access to healthy food, a healthy environment and minimal health risks, all characteristics strongly associated with wealth - significantly increases your own chances of being healthy. This reflects a growing problem of the health divide between the poor and the rich - you can literally inherit the negative health consequences of your parents’ poverty.

  1. Get married (if you’re a man)

While the same cannot be said for women, it turns out that getting married and having a wife can extend a man’s life by 10 years on average, a statistically significant number. Possible explanations include: wives do everything for their husbands, including cook, clean and care for their health. Men don’t do this themselves. Therefore, married men live longer.

  1. Develop a hard-working lifestyle

According to a long-term study that followed the health of children from the early 1920s to their deaths, whose results were published in 2011, hard work and a “prudent” lifestyle were significant factors in longer life. People who were more willing to take on hard work, dedicate themselves and focus on their careers lived longer lives, possibly because they were also better at dedicating themselves to healthy decisions or avoiding poor decisions that led to health risks. They were more likely to get married, as well (that same study identified the benefit to married men), and less likely to be placed, willingly or unwillingly, in dangerous positions.

  1. Avoid substance use

This is probably no surprise to anyone, but it’s nevertheless a critical point to mention. Avoiding substances - such as alcohol, cigarettes or drugs - can help extend your lifespan significantly (or rather, partaking in these substances will shorten your lifespan significantly). Although moderation is often advocated as a reasonable solution that balances health with enjoying life, cutting them out entirely will still have a significant effect on your lifespan.

Some factors that affect the length of your lifespan are in your control; others are not. They’re not always easy to predict, and the nature of life means you can do everything right and still die young. However, with some research, good decision making and luck, you can find yourself joining those who celebrate their centennial birthdays.

Author's Bio: 

Jeremiah is a leading web entrepreneur specialising in cloud-based technology.