I read through hundreds of research papers on habits, where "all cause mortality" was measured, and tabulated them based on what effect the behaviours would have on your chance of living. The "hazard ratio" is an indicator of how a given group of people would be affected in a given time.
Changing your habits based on the list will improve your chance of living longer, but it won't make you live forever. For that, we need to make more drastic changes, which are discussed throughout the rest of the book.
The list is ordered such that the habits that make the greatest difference are at the top.
male: 1 drink daily
The #1 habit to take up is probably an utter surprise, and contentious. Men who have one alcoholic drink daily are nearly 2.5 times less likely to die in any period than men that don't drink at all. Yes, you read that right - drinking daily is better than not drinking. HR: 0.41
male: 7000 MET-min-month exercise
Less surprisingly, men that exercise the equivalent of 7000 MET minutes per month are nearly twice as likely to survive in a given period than men that don't exercise. That's the equivalent of about an hour of moderate exercise a day. HR: 0.59.
commuting by bicycle
Related to exercise, people that cycle when possible are less likely to die early than people who are not active (driving, for example) HR: 0.59.
female: 7000 MET-min-month exercise
Women that exercise the equivalent of 7000 MET minutes per month are nearly twice as likely to survive in a given period than women that don't exercise. Again, this is just an hour of moderate exercise every day. HR: 0.6
4-7 sauna sessions per week
Short steam sessions, almost daily, are good for the skin and body, giving a 66% chance of living a longer life. HR: 0.6
sunbathe year-round, and use sun-beds
Avoiding sunlight (for fear of skin cancer, for example) is bad for you. Especially in northern countries where Vitamin D deficiency is common. Sunlight not only makes people feel happy, but will also help you live longer. HR: 0.62
running 51-80 minutes per week
Some very large studies have shown that running is good for you, but in moderation. Beyond 80 minutes per week, the benefits plateau. People that run 51-80 minutes per week are 54% more likely to live a longer life. HR: 0.65
be satisfied with your life
Satisfied people are more calm and reasoned than happy or sad people, and less likely to have accidents or make rash decisions. HR: 0.671
male: avoid living in high-unemployment areas
Living in high-unemployment areas is worse for men than for women. Inversely, avoiding those areas is better for men than women, giving a 46% chance of living a longer than average life. HR: 0.685
female: 1-2 drinks weekly
A surprising one - we all hear stories about how alcohol is bad for you. Well, it is, when abused. But if you are female and have just 2 drinks a week (vs not drinking at all), you are 40% more likely to live longer. Two per week. Not two per day. HR: 0.714
eat 4 servings of fruit&veg per day
Increased vegetables and fruit intake (vs meat) is good for you, increasing your chance of living longer by 31%. Increasing the fruit/vegetable percentage in your diet has a very strong effect on your lifespan. It also has a strong effect on the lifespans of the animals that you are not eating. Be good. HR: 0.76
eating 3 whole-grain meals per day
If you eat breads/pastas, source them from non-processed grains and you'll live longer. HR: 0.77
See the joy in life, and you are 28% more likely to live a longer life. You don't have to paste a silly grin on, but if you just relax and enjoy the ride, you'll get to enjoy the ride for longer. HR: 0.78
control prehypertension through exercise and weight loss
Hypertension is an increase in blood pressure which is hard to recover from. You can decrease the chance of hypertension by exercising and losing weight in order to decrease your blood pressure. HR: 0.787
Male: 4-5 cups of coffee a day
Coffee-drinking has a better effect on males than on females, with a hazard ratio of 0.8 for males, vs 0.84 for females. Sticking to this one is easy for me. Coffee keeps me running all day (mostly to the toilet). HR: 0.8
High vegetable low carbohydrate diet
A study of about 130,000 people, spanning 26 years, found that people with diets that had higher vegetable-based low carbohydrate diets lived longer. The foods should be vegetable-based, as it was found that animal-based diets actually increased the chance of dying earlier. The facts don't lie. HR 0.8
High potassium intake
We've all heard that salt is bad for us. It's actually more true that a high intake of sodium is bad for you. If you consume potassium salts instead of sodium salts, you will increase your life expectancy. Hazard ratio 0.8.
Female: 4-5 cups of coffee a day
Some people hate the stuff, but coffee is measurably good for you. Even though it does induce an addiction (going without coffee gives you a headache and makes you tired), the positive effects outweigh these negatives. A study found that each cup of coffee you drink (up to 5 or so) reduces your chances of dying. Hazard ratio 0.84.
Female: avoid living in high-unemployment areas
High-unemployment areas tend to have higher percentages of people that don't exercise, or have bad nutrition, or worse habits. If you are surrounded by people that have bad habits, it is hard to keep good habits, as you stand out and become a target for talk or worse. On the other hand, if you are in an area with high employment, you are surrounded by people that are always busy with something, relaxing, or exercising. Simply by being around an environment like this can encourage you to join in, which will help improve your health. Hazard ratio 0.84.
15 minutes of exercise a day
Exercise doesn't mean jumping up and down and sweating. It can be as simple as a brisk stroll, walking the dog, chopping some wood. If it raises your heart's beats per minute, then it's exercise. Instead of driving to the local shop, walk. Do some work in the garden. The hazard ratio here is 0.86.
Males: get a vasectomy
A study of 30,000 men showed that having a vasectomy reduced mortality significantly. The study's paper proposed that this was because vasectomies reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Hazard ratio 0.85.
Eat hot red chili peppers
Adults that consume hot red chili peppers have a 13% lower hazard of death than adults that don't. 16,000 people were studied for 7 years. During that time, almost 5000 deaths were recorded. After analysis, it was shown that death occured more often in adults that do not consume hot red chili peppers than in those that do. The discussion part of the paper suggests this is because capsaicin in the peppers activates TRPV1, which helps protect against obesity, in turn protecting against cardiovascular, metabolic and lung diseases. Hazard ratio 0.87.
Develop your conscientiousness
This is a simple one - just be aware of your surroundings, and try to develop habits that reduce risk. For example, always wipe a counter clean after making a sandwich, sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand, look both ways when crossing a road, always wear a seat-belt. Hazard ratio 0.88.
Be open to new experiences
Being open to new experiences means that are willing to change your habits if something new presents itself. This can increase life expectancy, because sometimes what you are doing may be damaging your health. For example, if you are a "meat and two veg" kind of person, you might open yourself up to reducing the meat, or if you have a lump somewhere you might go get it checked out instead of thinking "well, it's always been there". It doesn't have to be a drastic change. The hazard ratio for this is 0.99.
In the next chapter, read about bad habits that shorten your life