Living a long and happy life is what everyone dreams and hopes for. Young people want to live to be as old as their grandparents, grandparents want to live to see their great-great-grandchildren. That is the cycle of life, longevity some people call it, and for the most part, it can be achieved. In fact, longevity has since developed into a lifestyle that many people are adopting. However, the people that apply and live the lifestyle do not just do it to be alive for 100 years. No, they adopt the lifestyle so as to continue to live a healthy and active life even when they are in their 80’s and 90’s.
Anyone can live a long and active life. It just takes a bit of understanding to do it right. Just by taking a look at the lives of people who have lived actively past the age of 100 you can clearly see that it can be achieved. You just need to understand what longevity means and what you need to do in order to increase the longevity of life.
Understanding the importance of longevity health
Longevity wellness dates back centuries and it still exists even up to this day. It is a concept of living longer than the average person while maintaining a high quality of life. For example, a person who lives past the age of 80 while maintaining physical, mental and social activities is said to have longevity. Therefore, simply put, the goal of longevity is maintaining the maximum possible potential activity, even at an advanced age.
Imagine living past 90 years of age and still remain able to take long walks in the woods and keep up with the energy and mental sharpness of your grandkids. Being able to go to the shops and actually get the things you need without requiring special assistance. Being able to do things for yourself at an advanced age means independency and that is what longevity is all about. This brings about the discussion of the importance of longevity wellness. You can live long, but do you want to live that long if you are not able to do the simple things that you loved doing when you were in your prime? Do you want to live long and depend on other people to assist you with day to day activities like dressing up, making a cup of coffee and going to the shop? For most people, the answer to these questions and other similar ones is no. That is why longevity wellness is important.
In order to live a long and ripe life, you need to understand the fundamentals of longevity health. There is a lot involved in order to be in shape at your ripe age, however, it is never too late to take charge and the necessary adjustments.
What determines the longevity of life?
While some people believe that genetics determines the longevity of life, the actual truth is that genes only account for less than 30 percent of longevity. The rest of the factors that determine the length and quality of life include the environment, life behavior, attitude, diet, psychology, and physicality. As you may already see already, longevity health is not just about eating well, it is much deeper than that. The Twins studies performed a study to investigate the variants influencing the human lifespan. According to the study, the human lifespan is largely influenced by modifiable factors like individual behavior and environment. On the other hand, 20-30% of variants in lifespan is due to non-modifiable genetic factors.
It is therefore clear that only a small fraction of hereditary factors influence longevity, the rest of the factors can be modified by just adjusting the style of living. Studies performed on centenarians have identified various lifestyles of interest in as far as living an active life in ripe age is concerned. Attributes such as regular exercise, not smoking, peace of mind, social connectedness and have stood out as the common factors in people who have lived past 100 years of age.
In an article published by The New York Times, Malvina Hunt a centenarian from central New York gives an account of her life. She attributes her healthy longevity mainly to vigorous exercise. Every morning she engages in-home exercises and every other evening she goes bowling with friends and family, which adds on to her physical lifestyle and social contact. In summer, Malvina spends a lot of time outside, gardening and mowing the lawn. She has been living this life from her prime adult life and continues to live like that even past the age of 100. Another impressive attribute about Malvina is that she still works in a winery as a greeter and assists in building wine cartons. Keeping her job has allowed her to maintain her sense of purpose and the presence of mentally stimulating people around her. She continues to live by her motto “If I could do it today, I’ll be able to do it tomorrow.”
Centenarian researchers have also paid special attention to the people of Okinawa Japan. This special area has shown to have the highest number of ripe age citizens, with around 500 people per million living healthy up to the age of 100. The longevity of Okinawans is attributed to a simple life with physical activity, good nutrition, and low caloric intake. Another population with many centenarians is Bulgaria. The lifestyle of the people of Bulgaria closely resembles that of Okinawa people, thereby reinforcing the fact that lifestyle behavior plays an important role in longevity wellness.
In addition to lifestyle and behavior, other determinants of longevity wellness are improved healthcare (vaccines, medication, and hygiene) and technology. This brings into perspective the fact that you do not need to have been bone in the early years in order to live a long and active life. Even people born in today’s era can achieve the same if not better, all thanks to technology advancement.
Tips on how to achieve ultimate longevity
Coming up with a longevity wellness program is a must for anyone who wants to achieve ultimate longevity and live a long active life. It is best to implement the wellness program at the earliest possible stage of your adult life. However, if you have passed your peak years, you can still go ahead and adopt a wellness plan, it will still improve your ripe years.
An important thing to note when adopting a wellness plan is that it has to be adapted to the things you like to do, that way you can easily follow the plan without feeling like you are living someone else’s life.
Evaluating your interest and way of life
Evaluating your way of life so you can come up with a longevity program is quite simple. You have to ask yourself simple questions:
- What is it that you like to do?
- In the morning what would you prefer to do?
- What about during the day and at night?
- How do you like to spend your weekends?
- What social activities make you feel happy the most?
- What about the food?
Of course, there are many other questions, these are just examples to give an idea of how the general evaluation is like. The responses to these questions will help sharp your ultimate longevity program into a lifestyle that you will enjoy and maintain well into your advanced age.
The idea of adopting a longevity program is to make beneficial lifestyle changes that will boost your overall wellness. Regardless of the program that you will adopt, the result really depends on your commitment to the program. For sure making adjustments is hard at first but as time goes on, the commitment will make the lifestyle changes natural and second nature to you.
Making necessary adjustments to achieve longevity wellness
Part of adjusting means reducing or completely getting rid of bad behavior that can impact your ability to live an active life in the future. Some habits to consider quitting or cutting back on include:
Smoking is one of the leading causes of a reduced span of life and physical activity. Nicotine reduces the capacity of the lungs and consequently the quality of breathing. Poor breathing has an impact on the ability to perform physical activities, mental capacity, and quality of sleep and rest in general. In addition to impacting your physical activities, smoking is strongly linked to disease and early onset loss of life. According to studies, smokers risk reducing their lives by up to years and as such are likely to lose their lives earlier than nonsmokers due to diseases and physical incapacitation.
Regardless of how long you have been smoking, it is never too late to reduce this habit and prolong your life. In actual fact, a study reported that people who quit smoking by the age of 35 can extend their life by around 8.5 years why those that quit smoking by 60 add up to 3.7 years to their lives.
- Poor sleeping habits
Staying up late into the night and oversleeping are both sleeping habits that can have an impact on your longevity health. While sleep may be important in regulating cell function and body recovery, oversleeping has an impact on your physical capacities and mental abilities. Therefore developing a good sleeping pattern is essential. If you want to live a long and ripe life. The goal is to establish a good sleep routine that involves going to bed and waking up around the same every single day except for once a week when you go out or engage in long social activities. According to research, sleeping less can carry a 12% risk of early death while sleeping too much can decrease lifespan by around 38%. It is therefore important to develop and culture good sleeping habits in order to achieve ultimate longevity.
- Inadequate exercise
Inadequate exercise is another bad habit that can lead to poor quality of life. Research has shown that regular exercise can lead to extended physical abilities way into old age. Most people often confuse regular exercise by going to the gym and engaging in extreme sport. In fact, that is not the case. Exercise can range from going to the gym and outdoor activities to simple things like going to the shops and bowling night. The choices are really unlimited when it comes to exercise. Literally speaking, everyone can find their exercise of choice by just examining the things they like to do on a daily basis. As few as 15 minutes of exercise per day may help you achieve ultimate longevity.
- Procrastinating on health issues
Many people procrastinate on potential health issues until it is too late to treat the problem without a permanent impact on the lifespan or quality of life. With the advances in health and technology, there is absolutely no reason to delay seeking medical attention when you are not feeling well. Sometimes simple treatment like taking antibiotics for 3 to 5 days can solve a health issue that would otherwise take away some valuable years off your lifespan. There are some health conditions that can affect other parts of your lifestyle, which in turn will have an impact on longevity. For example, untreated back pain can affect your physical activities. Memory problems can affect your mental capacity as you grow older.
- Stress and anxiety
This is one behavior that is not easy to deal with as it is a result of many external factors. However, one has to learn how to manage stress and anxiety in order to live a healthier and ripe life. In addition, stress can have unhealthy effects on your body and can promote unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, use of drugs, poor sleep, etc.
- Poor retirement planning
Finance plays a huge role in longevity, especially in this era. Poor retirement planning can affect you on so many levels. It can affect your diet, state of mind, health, etc. All of this will, in turn, affect the quality of your life. Therefore if you want to live a healthy and fruitful life you need to plan for your retirement early and properly.
So in conclusion, anyone can live a high-quality life well into the advanced ages. The secret to longevity ultimately lies in behavior management and living in the healthiest way possible. If the people of Okinawa can live up to the age of 100 by following the simple lifestyle model then anyone else in the world can achieve the same by just adopting a longevity model. Furthermore with the use of technology some activities like mental stimulation, physical activity, financial planning and more can be achieved without too much effort.