If you were to ask someone over the age of 70, maybe even just over the age of 50, it is likely they have no desire to live forever. In fact, a highly respected professor, at the age of 52, once said, “One-hundred years is enough. I have had a good life up until now, I am certain the next 50 will be delightful as well, but I really don’t need to be on this earth any longer than that.” She is in excellent health, looks younger than her age, has a great career and two loving children – so why doesn’t she want to live forever?
The “trouble” with living forever is that several issues come with it – even if you could stay 25 forever and so could everyone else – what would this overpopulated planet be like? Or, a la Tuck Everlasting, if only you and your family could live forever at age 25, how sad would your life be – watching everyone around you age and die. The topic of preventive health and “anti-aging” it is not about living forever, it is about living this life to fullest – being well enough to do anything and everything you have ever desired to achieve for the 100 years (or more) you may be here. You can die peacefully and with dignity – wouldn’t you rather die at 100 climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, rather than withering away in a dark room?
This is where the concept of preventive health comes in – we have already found ways to live longer – a little over 200 years ago the average life expectancy was 35 years, in 1977 it was 77 years and today it is 82 years. But the quality of life of an individual as they climb past 35, 40, 50 or 77 is questionable – 45 percent of people over 85 require daily assistance, while 50 percent of that same population has some degree of Alzheimer’s disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, while cancer and diabetes rank among the top ten. Many times, these conditions are preventable and science is hard at work to unravel genetic coding to deter debilitating conditions passed along the generations.
You may have heard of resveratrol, the rich antioxidant find abundantly in red grapes, whose benefits, include “anti-aging,” and are maximized in the form of red wine. What you may not have heard is that resveratrol in moderate doses (like one 5-ounce glass of red wine per night) can reduce your risk of heart disease, but if you can figure out how to consume 35 bottles of red wine a day, you can defy your age.
In this instance, and in regards to “living the preventive health lifestyle,” you are not paving your way for eternity on this earth, but you are ensuring that although your biological clock keeps ticking, your looks, your energy, your health and your zest for life stay youthful, so however many years you do get, they are the best they can be.
If the signs and symptoms of aging – feeling every ache and pain in your body, a sluggish metabolism and chronic fatigue are keeping you from living to the fullest, you should, no need, to seek a preventive health lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, exercising with moderate to vigorous intensity four or more days per week and finding balance in your life: for work, play and relaxation.