According to Google, in 2021 there were 97,914 centenarians living in the United States. More and more people are living to age 100 and beyond. And, with apologies to the late George Burns (a comedian, actor, writer, 1923-1996), it is not because they smoke cigars.
Why are people living so much longer in the 21st century than ever before? Part of the reason is certainly because of much improved medical care and improvements in sanitation in many parts of the world. Another factor that must be considered is a person's genetics. But genetics have only about 20 to 30% influence on a person's lifespan.
What has the greatest influence on how long we live? Lifestyle. Lifestyle affects our lifespan by 70 to 80%. The choices we make every day, the habits we form, the diet we consume, the amount of exercise we get, our sleep patterns and duration, and other factors influence our daily life.
You and I are in the driver’s seat. The choices we make every day have a direct effect on our lifespan. That’s both good news and bad news. For me, controlling my weight, making the best food choices, and getting adequate exercise every day, represent my significant challenges. What about you?
It’s interesting for me to note, now that I have moved beyond the zenith of my life, that children and young adults tend to give very little thought to preserving their health.
But when we have lived long enough to realize that “this train doesn’t go on forever”, we tend to be more likely to pay attention to the laws of good health.
Health is our most valuable possession. Consider this observation by Dr. Ben Carson, the world-famous neurosurgeon,
“When I was an intern at Johns Hopkins, I was very impressed by the caliber of patients I saw on the wards. There were many heads of state, royalty, and heads of many large corporations. Many of them were dying of horrible diseases and would gladly have given every title and every penny for a clean bill of health. This puts into perspective the things that are really important in life.”
The laws of good health have no respect for the rich over the poor, or the educated over the ignorant. Everyone is subject to the same principles or laws of health.
Still, bad things do happen to good people. Disease and suffering do fall on people who live healthfully. We still live in a sin-sick world that is rapidly falling apart.
Doing our best to adhere to the laws of healthy living, will greatly increase the probability of living long and enjoying the benefits of a rich, full life.
Wisdom can come with age. Please note some samples below.
“My 80s were the best years of my life!” — Besse Cooper, 116
“Find a cause and knock yourself out for it. It will enhance your brainpower, interest in life, and keep you alive longer.” —Alyse Laemmle, 96
“Don’t stay mad at anything—you have to get used to the losses, otherwise you can’t win.” — Benjamin Goldfaden, 99
“Pizza is going to support a whole generation of cardiologists!” — Dr. Leila Denmark, 114
“I’ll never retire as long as I live—that’s like retiring from life! I’ll never stop writing, teaching, and lecturing. If you’re in good health, living is exciting on its own.” — Bel Kaufman, 101
“Do things that you’ve never done before.” —Lillian Modell, 100
Thanks to the book, Health and Wellness
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