There are groups of people throughout the United States and the world that organize and meet with the sole intent of supporting each other to live to be 100 years and older.
Humans, according to Robert N. Butler, M.D. founding director of the National Institute on Aging, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Why Survive? Being Old In America, have about 110-120 years at the outside of their genetic life span. This information is encouraging.
The question that appears for most of us, however, is not so much how do we live longer, but how do we live healthier?
“The two it seems”, writes Lenny Guarente, PH.D. and Novartis Professor of biology at M.I.T and author of Ageless Quest: One Scientist’s Search for Genes That Prolong Youth, “should go hand in hand. And they often do because we can tip the odds in our favor by our lifestyles and by avoiding things that we know are bad, like smoking, like transfat, like excess body fat, like high blood pressure.”
Most people would agree that if we can extend health span the extending lifespan is just an extra bonus.
Many of us do not have a vision of the life we could live happily, productively, and disease free, as we get older. Part of the reason for this is that we are not exposed to seeing those people that live happily, productively, and relatively disease free well into their 90’s and 100’s.
There are other reasons why we do not have a vision for living well into our later years. Three of the most significant reasons are:
1. We believe that healthier lifestyles and specific lifestyle habits are too difficult to change so we abandon the idea of living as a centurian.
2. We are unsure if it is too late to make lifestyle changes due to age and health circumstances.
3. We are unsure whether the payoff of healthy living will increase our life’s quality and longevity to the degree that we would like.
These are legitimate concerns. Lifestyle changes take time. Lifestyle changes take effort. And lifestyle changes are difficult to implement on our own.
If you have simply thought about changing your lifestyle for a better life quality, then you have a vision. It may not be a fully developed vision, but it is a vision. And a vision is a start. Keep it! Develop it! Don’t let it fade away. I can assure you that if you’ve implemented the lifestyle habits that you know are necessary for a more healthy, vigorous and vital you, then you will not be disappointed.