In just four years, you can reduce your risk of heart disease - and put years on your life expectancy.
The great news is that the changes are simple and achievable: just eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, exercise moderately for two-and-a-half hours a week - that's just 20 minutes a day - don't smoke, and keep your BMI (body mass index) below 30.
Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina tested the theory on around 16,000 people aged between 45 and 64, who were monitored for 10 years.
Those who adopted the four lifestyle changes saw an average of a 35 per cent reduction in heart disease, and a 40 per cent improvement in life expectancy.
Even those who adopted three of the four recommendations also improved their life expectancy.
(Source: American Journal of Medicine, 2007; 120: 598-603).