Life expectancy in most countries has increased dramatically over the past century. But the statistics reveal little about the quality of life at an old age. Yet, we could live much longer and happier lives by adopting positive lifestyle habits.
Extreme longevity with people over the age of 100 has increased steadily over the past decades, attributed mainly to vast improvements on infectious diseases, sanitation, clean water and food.
An average of three months is being added to life expectancy every year and there are predictions estimating there could be a million centenarians across the world by 2030.
Recent studies however show that genetics make up only 25 per cent when it comes to longevity. The other 75 per cent are attributed to lifestyle habits. Some researchers even argue that its quite possible for the human being to live a healthy life of over 120 years and beyond if we eat the right foods and keep our body fit with exercise.
We have made huge strides on environmental issues like clean water and food. Modern medicine can also extend lives, especially relating to cardiovascular disease. But we are sadly lacking when it comes to the other equation: The average person in the western world spends four hours a day sitting motionless before an electronic device and is overweight because of lack of exercise and eating junk foods. Modern diseases like diabetes, cancer and alzheimer are rapidly one the rise.
Our bodies are filled with toxins or byproducts from mainly processed foods that interfere with the body’s metabolic processes and which our bodies are not able to break down or excrete. This is causing havoc on the cellular level, especially as we grow older, with the cells no longer able to fulfill their function in taking-up vital nutrients and detoxing.
We are living longer but what about the quality of life at a ripe old age? Many people spend the last years of their lives suffering from numerous illnesses. In Germany’s ageing population almost three million of 82 million people are in need of care. Some 14 per cent are aged between 75-84 years and 66 per cent 89 years and older. It means that most of the older people in Germany are dependent on external help. The social system is already under strain. What is it going to be like in 10, 15 or even 20 years time? And we are talking about one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
The good news is that the body is a remarkable system. Moderate and regular physical exercise can greatly improve the life of even an 80-year-old, strengthening muscles, bones and body balance. Regular exercise also has a positive influence on metabolism.
The earlier we start the better. Research reveals that some aspects of age-related cognitive decline begin in healthy, educated adults when they are in their 20s and 30s. So, the sooner we start replacing those bad habits with good habits and keeping at it on a daily basis the better. But you will only stay motivated if you do something you truly enjoy doing and the trick is to find the right type of exercise that is good for you. That will keep you moving without having to force yourself.
Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters
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