Methuselah notwithstanding, two thousand years ago the average life expectancy was under 40 years of age. Today, the average person lives to their 70s and an estimated 4.2 million people in the United States are 85 years or older. Currently, the fastest growing age demographic is centenarians and it is expected that by 2050 more than one million Americans will be over 100 years of age.
For a long time it was assumed that longevity was mostly a genetic anomaly but now researchers believe that lifestyle choices can be the difference between aging healthfully and suffering with chronic conditions. For example, something as simple as maintaining a positive outlook can help people enjoy better health and improved quality of life, in part because some researchers believe that a positive outlook may boost the immune system.
Generally speaking, more educated people tend to live longer than their lesser educated counterparts. But even more important is managing stress, which can be helped by having a strong emotional support group of friends and family. That in turn may help people make better choices, such as choosing a better diet that emphasizes fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, nuts, and lean meat and fish.
Another key to aging healthfully is to make exercise a regular part of your daily life. Exercising doesn’t have to mean going to the gym to lift weights and take a weight lifting class. It can be dancing, hiking, walking, or swimming. The goal should be at least half hour a day, every day. The benefits are many. Building muscle reduces the risk of heart disease and breaking a hip from falling. It keeps weight under control and joints flexible. Exercise also improves an individual’s outlook and helps people sleep better.
It is also recommended to see a chiropractor regularly as part of an overall wellness strategy. By keeping active, eating well, and maintaining close friendships, your golden years can be productive and healthy.