If you want to live longer, with more enjoyment in your later years, there’s some research you’ll want to know about. In fact, this research has repercussions for your entire family – and I’m sure you want your loved ones to live longer and healthier as well.
Your Lifestyle Choices Are The Biggest Factor In Your Lifespan
A study of 3,099 elderly Danish twins which took place from 1995 to 2005, known as The Danish Twins Study, established that the length of our lives is only affected by our genetics by a factor of 10%. 90% is based on lifestyle.
In other words, we have a great deal of choice and control in how long we live (and, of course, how well we live).
Obesity is a Huge Factor in Reducing Longevity
If you’re knowledgeable about the health consequences of being overweight, you probably already know that obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritits, sleep apnea, and several forms of cancer. Unfortunately, obesity in America, and here in Hawaii, is on the rise.
“As with other age groups, the percentage of people age 65 and over who are obese has increased since 1988–1994. In 2009–2010, 38 percent of people age 65 and over were obese, compared with 22 percent in 1988– 1994.”
Obesity in women can cause menstrual and hormonal issues, and can lead to infertility. Obesity in women is rising quickly.
“In 2009–2010, 45 percent of women age 65–74 and 30 percent of women age 75 and over were obese. This is an increase from 1988–1994, when 27 percent of women age 65–74 and 19 percent of women age 75 and over were obese.”
Men are also showing disturbing trends in the increase in bodyweight as they age.
“Older men followed similar trends: 24 percent of men age 65–74 and 13 percent of men age 75 and over were obese in 1988–1994, compared with 43 percent of men age 65–74 and 27 percent of men age 75 and over in 2009–2010.”
Source: Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being
US Department of Health and Human Services
National Institute on Aging
Lets Get Personal – How Long Will You Live?
You can use the Life Expectancy Calculator to give yourself a pretty clear picture of how long you’re likely to live, given your current lifestyle habits and choices. The Calculator has sections on Lifestyle, Nutrition, Medical, Family, and will take about 10 minutes to complete. You’ll have to enter your email address to see your calculated life expectancy, as well as personalized feedback. When I took it, my own personalized feedback gave suggestions on lifestyle changes that would be likely to add 6.5 years to my lifespan.
If you’d prefer to self-evaluate, the most common ways to improve longevity are listed below.
Lifestyle Changes to Help You Live Longer
Pay particular attention to the first four below – they are likely to add up to 14 years to your lifespan.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Refrain from smoking
- Find an exercise you enjoy and do it – swimming, a trampoline, dancing, walking
- Drink moderately (or not at all)
These Lifestyle Changes Add Some Bonus Years
- Try meditation or another stress-management technique
- Think positively
- Floss every day
- Add calcium to your diet
- Get regular medical checkups
- Lose excess weight
- Keep learning new things
- Choose healthy snacks
- Keep your heart healthy – reduce cholesterol and blood pressure if they’re high
- Smile more – it’s been proven to reduce stress
- Develop an “attitude of gratitude”
It’s not just about living longer, of course. It’s about living those extra years feeling as well as possible, without finding your activities limited by major health concerns. That’s why I believe medical weight loss is such a great solution for those who are challenged by needing to lose weight. If that’s you, and you live in Hawaii, come in and talk to me (there’s no charge for your first appointment) about why medical weight loss can address your weight and health issues fast, so that you can lose weight to live longer!