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  • Writer's pictureGregory D. Hamilton

Healthspan vs. Lifespan

Why It’s All About ‘Healthspan’ over ‘Lifespan’

Think for a moment before answering this question: Do you want to live as long as possible?

Or …

Do you want to live WELL for as long as possible?

There’s a big difference.

And the difference is getting a lot of attention in the medical, healthcare, and fitness communities.

It’s the distinction between “lifespan” (how long a person might live) and “healthspan” (the period of life when you’re generally healthy and free of serious or chronic illness).

Your lifespan can be extended with some bleak years spent immobile, sick, or even incapacitated. Sure, you might be alive but if you’re confined to a recliner are you living?

Better is the idea of a long healthspan. By extending your health span you’re extending the good parts of life when you’re active, independent, and vital. And you’re shortening the time spent being frail, dependent, or sidelined by a common chronic illness like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

The key to it all is consistent physical activity, starting now (if you haven’t already).

For example, one scientific study published in the journal Circulation, suggests these five behaviors could extend a woman’s life at age 50 by 14 years, and a man’s by 12.

  1. Don’t smoke

  2. Keep a healthy weight

  3. Get regular physical activity (30 minutes a day in this study)

  4. Consume a healthy diet

  5. Drink alcohol moderately, if at all

All five factors are tied to the top killers – cardiovascular disease and cancer. Taking these steps can make a big difference in your quality of life, as well as your longevity.

The bestseller lists today contain titles about lifespan, longevity, healthspan, and related topics, notably Outlive by Peter Attia and Bill Gifford.

In an earlier book called “The Big Five,” a Harvard doctor lists these steps to living longer:

  1. Drink coffee

  2. Exercise

  3. Get Vitamin D

  4. Eat nuts

  5. Meditate

Maintaining or regaining strength, stamina, and flexibility is so important, especially after age 50.

Good decisions build on each other. If you’re exercising right, then you’re more likely to build on that by eating well. And those two steps generally lead to a healthy weight.

Surveys show that 90% of Baby Boomers want to live as long as possible and that they spend $63 billion a year on “anti-aging” treatment. Also, 87% say brain health is a top priority.

Here’s one more “Top 5” list that’s on point. It’s from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. It’s 5 Ways to Increase Your Healthspan.

  1. Drink plenty of water

  2. Get adequate sleep

  3. Reduce time spent sitting

  4. Do strength training

  5. Build a community and support system

So, the science is clear – from at least three independent sources – and from common sense, too.

If you want to live better longer, then you need to take care of your body and your brain – AND REGULAR EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL TO DOING SO.

We’d all like to be healthy and independent. The solution is right here.

Need help getting started, talk to me about extending the good years – and LIVING as much as possible.

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