We all want to live a long life, this is an obvious statement if ever there was one. Of course, we want that life to be as enjoyable and comfortable as possible, and for most, that would include the ability to remain active well into later life. What level of activity is acceptable is a matter for debate, as some of us merely want to avoid a heart attack, while others will not be satisfied unless they can run several ultra-marathons in their 70s. If we assume that we are talking about somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, then we can offer some advice and guidance for the long-term.
It is never too early to start living healthily, and although if you are reading this as an adult, you can’t change your upbringing, you can do it for your children. There is a whole range of good reasons that we should not be complacent in planning a healthy lifestyle for our children. Poor nutrition, for example, can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. Even just the fact that habits formed in youth can be the most difficult to shift in later life should set alarm bells ringing. For children, if they are inactive and don’t eat well, it can affect them in school, finding it difficult to concentrate in school, further hampering their life chances.
Speaking of life chances, we should look at our life chances based on where we live. It is easy to find out what the life expectancy is in your nation or area. Even in the USA, you can find places that have a life expectancy of just 61, this compares to 86 in the best counties. So, is it best to avoid living in these areas? Well, yes and no. It’s important to remember that these are average life expectancies, and unless there is an environmental reason such as pollution, it may be down to lifestyle. This would be considered a cultural phenomenon if there is a general lifestyle habit of poor diet and lack of exercise. If you live in one of these areas, it is possible to live to a grand old age by looking after your diet and lifestyle.
In all aspects of life, we should plan accordingly to make sure we are risk-averse. If we choose sports and activities, we need to properly assess risk and either mitigate against it or avoid it altogether. Even for seemingly dangerous activities, there are more and less extreme versions of them. Consider the example of rock climbing. You can climb indoors at a climbing gym at one end of the risk or free solo mountain cliffs at the other. Choose where you travel wisely as many areas of the world still are vulnerable to diseases such as malaria it is important to be on top of issues such as what blood type do mosquitoes like.
How can we be sure if we are successful in our quest to attain a healthy, long life? We can ensure we go for regular check-ups with our physician. A preventative approach to health and wellbeing is known to be more effective than a reactive one. Any disease or health condition should be identified as early as is possible, giving the highest chance of successful treatment. Consider a cancerous growth, if it has yet to spread, we are in a better position.
Diet vs. Exercise
There is often a debate surrounding the importance of diet, as opposed to exercise in the battle for a healthy life. Of course, both are important, and one certainly affects the other. Take exercise, the benefits are clear, a strong and healthy heart and respiratory system make surviving certain illnesses more likely. If we are not eating correctly, then being active and exercising becomes more difficult, and we end up in a downward spiral.
Mental health is an area that traditionally did not receive the attention it merits as part of an overall, holistic approach to wellbeing. Destressing and relaxing are as important as working out, and if your struggles are more, then it can affect every aspect of your life. Never be too proud to seek medical help, as many mental health conditions are perfectly manageable with the correct treatment. The stigma that used to surround mental health has disappeared in the modern world to a large extent.