Having a big dinner and a couple drinks won’t kill you. But it turns out, a plate of prime rib and two glasses of champagne will shorten your life by about an hour and a half. That’s according to University of Cambridge statistician Dr. David Spiegelhalter.
Dr. Spiegelhalter wanted to give us an easy way to understand how everyday activities affect our lifespan. So, he crunched the numbers from hundreds of medical studies - and came up with the idea of a microlife. One microlife equals about 30 minutes. And our activities will either add or subtract one microlife – or a dozen - from the amount of time we can expect to live.
For example: Two alcoholic drinks will cost you one microlife. The real price of a double cheeseburger is an hour. And smoking a pack a day will burn up 10 microlives. In other words, a pack-a-day habit shortens your life by 5 hours every day. And sitting down for your daily Jeopardy fix, plus a rerun of Seinfeld, will send you to your grave 15 minutes sooner.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom. Healthy behaviors increase your lifespan.
For example, you save a microlife for every day you eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. If you choose a salad instead of a double cheeseburger, you’ll be 3 microlives ahead. And for every minute you spend on a treadmill you’ll live an extra minute longer. It’s an even exchange.