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Live Younger Longer

6 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer, Alzheimer's and More

Published by Mayo Clinic Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
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Most of us want to live a long, healthy life, but how do we do that? Drawing upon lessons from his own life, Mayo Clinic cardiologist Stephen Kopecky offers a holistic, evidence-based approach to preventing common diseases and chronic illnesses and living a longer life of pleasure and purpose.

In the past century, the leading causes of death around the world have shifted from infectious diseases to long-term chronic illnesses. What’s killing us today isn’t so much flu or tuberculosis, but heart disease and cancer. In fact, more than 1.2 million Americans die from these two diseases each year. Paradoxically, these chronic diseases are a consequence of living longer than ever. But even if we’re living longer, are we living better? The overwhelming number of people now living under the burden of chronic illness indicates otherwise.

After surviving two bouts of cancer, Dr. Stephen Kopecky, M.D set out to discover the behaviors people can adopt to live longer lives free of chronic illnesses and diseases. What he discovered was that the answer lies in just six habits that require small changes to your daily life, but reap big results long-term. From adopting better diet and exercise habits to managing stress and sleep, these behaviors will not only preserve your health, they can improve your quality of living and extend your life. The secret, however, lies not just in the steps themselves but in how you accomplish them.

This book offers in-depth insights on:

  • The best foods to eat and why
  • Increasing physical activity and improving fitness
  • Why your sleep habits matter
  • The dangers of stress and what to do about them
  • The true impact of alcohol and tobacco on our bodies
  • How to make changes that will last a lifetime

After 30 years of research in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention, Dr. Kopecky is sharing what he’s learned from his practice and own personal experience about staying healthy, preventing chronic illnesses, and living younger longer.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: The state of our health

Chapter 1: What kills us

My story

The big shift

Living the modern life

What I’ve learned

Chapter 2: How do we get from healthy to diseased?

Health doesn’t exist in a vacuum

A look inside

Which way forward?

Chapter 3: A longer life in good health

Measuring the gap

The cost of chronic illness

Lifestyle effects

Spent money, lost time

Preventive maintenance
Chapter 4: Slow change is permanent change

Small changes, big results

You can do this

What failure teaches us

Know your why, what and how

Turning on autopilot

Celebrating successes

Phasing out bad habits

Knowledge is power

Chapter 5: Messages for millennials

Millennial health vs. other generations

Know your brain

Enjoy what you do

If not for yourself, then for the earth

Money and your health

Rethinking family history

Find what works for you

 Chapter 6: For baby boomers

Diseases of long life

Slowing the hands of time

The power of purpose

Living your best life

Chapter 7:  Boosting the immune system

A new virus collides with longstanding diseases

The power of the immune system 

Part 2: From surviving to thriving

Chapter 8: Step 1: Food that fuels

Food and health

A better pattern of eating

Our diets: What went wrong

How can we change?

Chapter 9: Step 2: Be active and fit

Why do we need to be both active and fit?

How to not be sedentary

How to get physically fit

Keep at it

Chapter 10: Step 3: Prioritize sleep

Why is sleep important?

What is a good night’s sleep?

Causes of poor sleep

How to get better sleep

Chapter 11: Step 4: Get a handle on stress

Your body on stress

Managing stress

Social support and stress

Chapter 12: Step 5: Avoid smoking and other pollutants

A brief history of tobacco

Why do people still smoke today?

The harms of smoking

Just as harmful as smoking

How to quit

Positive trends

Chapter 13:  Step 6: Be thoughtful about alcohol

What's the difference between moderate and heavy drinking?

Are there benefits to drinking in moderation?

The effects of heavy drinking

How to apply the brakes effectively

Chapter 14: Bonus! Healthy weight

Is your weight healthy?

Steps to a healthy weight

Part 3: Self-assessments and tools
  • BMI
  • Waist measurement
  • Resting heart rate
  • Blood pressure (purchase or use pharmacy)
  • Muscular strength and endurance (push-ups and squats)
  • 1-mile test results OR 6-min walk (how far you can walk in 6 minutes – for more frail people)
  • Diet inventory
  • Resiliency assessment (check validity)


Stephen (Steve) L. Kopecky, M.D., is a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention and risk factor management. He also serves as the Director of the Statin Intolerance Clinic, where he helps develop treatment plans for patients living with heart disease. In 2013, Dr. Kopecky was the recipient of the Jan J. Kellermann Memorial Award for Distinguished Work in the Field of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. He also works as a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, for which he has been named one of the Mayo Clinic’s top hospital-based teachers and has received numerous awards for his excellence in teaching.