Live To Be A Hundred

When we were younger we were told that thanks to the advances in medical science that we could expect to live to be well over 100. However, decades later the average median age for Americans is still while under 100 – for women the average is 83 and for men the average age is only 75. Things have gotten better for those of us who live longer, but as many of us can observe, it seems as if so many old people suffer from a myriad of disorders and problems – heart diseasehigh cholesteroldementiaAlzheimer’s, a dramatic reduction in muscle and bone strength, etc. And who really wants to live to be 100 if you are stuck in a wheelchair with a nurse looking after you because you are either physically or mentally incapable of doing so yourself?

While some of these problems are unavoidable, what we are understanding more and more is that by taking care of ourselves while we are young and middle-aged makes taking care of ourselves when we are older much easier and more enjoyable. It is only by developing healthy patterns of living in both diet, exercise and lifestyle that we can expect to not only live well into old age but be able to enjoy ourselves as well. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to make it to be 100 you are certain to enjoy your life a tremendous deal more if you are healthy and have your all of your faculties working to the best of their ability.

The first pattern of living you should be aware of is diet – what you eat regularly now is likely what you will eat regularly later. Humans are a pattern-seeking and pattern-following creature, so we subconsciously indoctrinate ourselves to eat the same things on a regular basis over time (which numerous studies have proven). The number one issue affecting the health of most old people is heart conditions related to cholesterol – this is because until recently people did not have the information readily available on nutrition to make intelligent choices on what they were eating (and because of this many old people for decades ate incredibly high-amounts of sodium, fat, and processed flour and sugar). It is essential you take a look at what you are eating now and what you should be eating and try to close the gap through whatever means necessary. Many people can’t just go “cold-turkey” from sweets and fatty-foods overnight, but they can at least start to reduce the amount of unhealthy foods they eat, while at the same time increasing the amount of healthy foods they eat.

The second pattern of living you should be aware of is exercise – there is no reason you can’t maintain your physical strength while into your 70’s, 80’s, even 90’s! However, the key word here is “maintain” – most people do not strive to regularly exercise or participate in some sort of sport or activity that requires a lot of physical exertion. Until quite recently (the last few hundred years), humans were forced by circumstance to exert a lot physically – there were no elevators or cars in the 17th century. However, as technology has increased at such a dramatic rate we now have the option of being lazy presented to us at every opportunity – escalators in the mall, shuttle buses from one location to another, stores accessible through Television, the Internet, or the Phone. The conveniences of modern life have made it so that we are almost expected to take the lazy option or otherwise we are being “stupid and inefficient.” What this type of thinking fails to account for is the satisfaction and enjoyment gained from physically accomplishing something. There is so much to be gained (mentally as well as physically) by testing ones physical limitation’s and using ones capacities for exertion when one feels like it.  If you want to live to be 100 and enjoy it you need to be exercising regularly, whether it is walking, biking, tennis with friends, etc. If you have not developed bone and muscle strength by the time you are in your elder years than it will be difficult (if not impossible) to develop those features of your body at that stage of your life. If you don’t develop these features of your body early then you will have nothing to maintain when you reach your glory years.
The last pattern of living you should be aware of is lifestyle – many people don’t think of health outside of what they eat and how much they work out. Lifestyle, however, is just as critical a facet of healthy living as exercise or diet. Things such as getting a good nights sleep regularly and avoiding accepted social ills (such as the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes) can be absolutely critical in affecting how you enjoy your life later. There are serious mental and physical problems that can arise later if we over-work our bodies to the point of exhaustion through whatever means (working too much, going to late-night parties frequently, etc.). Most of these lifestyle choices don’t have to be eliminated either, they just need to be regulated so that they are not being overdone. There is no reason to think you can’t enjoy a glass of scotch later in life you only drink scotch occasionally – however, if you drink scotch in excess then not only will you be unable to drink it when you are older, it could have a serious affect on whether you are around to even have that option at all.