How Long Will Your Body Last?
If you knew you’d live to 100, how would you change your life?
Would you eat healthier, exercise more, save more, visit your chiropractor more regularly, change your retirement plan, work longer, or take better care of yourself? The fact is centenarians are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population in the United States, and the chance of you becoming one is growing by leaps and bounds.
In a recent Discover magazine article, scientists concluded that a child born today has the potential to live 150 years, with some experts asserting that there is no upward limit on your longevity. During the past 40 years, the number of centenarians increased nearly ten fold. There are now about 450,000 centenarians living in the world.
The truth is staggering. Anyone who is 40 years of age today could live to be 100 years old and their grandchildren could live even longer than that. Will you outlive your assets, your career, your social network? Most importantly, how long will your body and mind last? What steps can you take today to make sure it will be a sensational century?
Create a Signature Life Plan
A life plan should prepare you physically, financially, and emotionally to live a joyous life no matter what your age, every step of the way. If your retirement plan, life insurance plan, disability plan, and health plan all point toward traditional retirement ages and life expectancies, you need a change. Meet with your advisors and discuss your longevity with your spouse or significant other to get on the same page about your extended life. Taking action will proactively get you on the right track and help you avoid being blindsided by your longevity, which was a major problem for today’s 80-, 90- and 100-year-old people.
In the long run, staying the same often requires more energy than changing. When you don’t make the changes you know you need to make, your energy is wasted on survival, boredom, anger, and frustration, which lead to stress, worry, anxiety, and other energy-draining emotions. When you recognize this, you can consciously begin to change the way you expend energy to restore your enthusiasm, health, success, and vigor.
Organize a Health Care Team
You can’t make it to a healthy 100 by yourself. You need a strong health care team to keep your body and mind as fit as possible. This support is essential to keep your body balanced, aligned, stress-free, and better able to resist the challenges of your environment. A health care team is absolutely vital in maintaining health, preventing disease, and living well.
Primary health care providers are the foundation of a good health care team. Chiropractors can ensure the balance of your spine and the health of your nerve system, the primary control center of your body. Other health care providers monitor numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat percentage, and blood sugar and give annual tests important for disease detection and prevention. These providers include chiropractors, internists, pediatricians, dentists, and optometrists.
Your health care team may also include a certified nutritionist or dietician to assist you in developing an eating plan that fits your lifestyle and your current health condition. A massage therapist can help manage pain, relax the body, and reduce stress. Choose a personal trainer that is certified by a professional association to make sure you are receiving appropriate advice and training.
Making sure the right people are on your health care team is an important part of maintaining the best health possible and living an active life. Building a health care team to keep you in the best shape of your life is the true purpose of health care.
Get Your ESS in Shape
Three key aspects of health that determine longevity are endurance, strength, and structure: ESS. Ask yourself what level of self-care you provide yourself. Would you trust your body to take a long-distance trek in an emergency? How much you could lift if you had to? Has your structure been evaluated lately to ensure that it is aging well? We need to be responsible for doing things we know are good for us today if we want endurance, strength, and balance during the next few decades.
Endurance is necessary to be able to maintain high levels of energy and stamina. Cardiovascular exercise is very important to keep your heart and lungs healthy, eliminate stress, and strengthen your immune system. Strength training can be performed in many ways using weights or your own body weight using methods such as yoga or Pilates. Structure means making sure your body shape and physical frame are balanced and proportional. A chiropractor can give you the necessary adjustments that will balance and align your spine and help you avoid the bent over, crooked posture that can creep up on you because of years of neglect.
Be Inspired by the Right Motivation
Proper motivation can help you change what’s necessary to live healthy to 100 and beyond. What is motivating you to live to your full potential? Fear or joy? Allowing crisis to motivate you to change keeps you in your old patterns and doesn’t resolve old issues. Choose quality of life motivation over the crisis approach to change. That way, you’ll avoid many painful, unnecessary detours along the way.
Our bodies have the hardware to live to 100 years and beyond. We all need to ask ourselves, how will we accept this gift of extra time? Will it be with gratitude or reluctance? Rather than fear old age, I challenge you to embrace your own longevity. Understanding and accepting this genetic opportunity will help you express your unlimited life potential.
One of the world’s most famous centenarians, George Burns, once joked that had he known he was going to live to be 100, he would have taken better care of himself. Use the knowledge you have today to make yourself a better person for tomorrow. Make your 100 years a sensational century. Live and leave your best life legacy as you learn how to live longer, healthier, and wiser than any other generation in history.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #13.
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