Authored by Yudi Yuviama in Health
Published on 12-13-2008
It seems we’re always chasing after dreams of renewed longevity. Why is it that so many of us want to live to be 100 or more? Some days I do, too especially when I’m on vacation, or when I watch my kids reaching for the stars, or when I’m feeling like a kid myself or pretending to be a star. Then there are that other day when living longer doesn’t sound like such a great idea. You know the ones I mean: your achy, breaky back days, your I’m too sick to move days, and your overwhelmed and stressed-out days.
Let’s assume that we all have a finite number of days on planet Earth. What can we do to extend them and make the most of them? How can we be healthier and hopefully live a little bit longer with our full range of capacities? Is there a way we can increase the number of healthy years we have and add quality to those years? Let’s find out.
The Inevitability of Aging
People say they want to have a long life, but is it enough just to survive for 100 years? I don’t just want a big birthday cake with 101 candles I want to be healthy enough to blow out all the candles. Life should be about quality pleasure, satisfaction, independence, and achievement, not just quantity. I want a long life worth living. I know the risks, and I’m willing to put in a little bit of effort now in return for the future payoff. Aren’t you?
While all of us are getting numerically older, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are aging. And when we do finally age, we can do it with grace. You can make wise decisions to slow the aging processor at least delay its onset.
As it turns out, your dream of living to 100 may not be so far out. More Americans than ever are centenarians an estimated 70,000. By the year 2004, that number has reached 140,000. Better yet, by the year 2050, there may be well over a million centenarians. Maybe the waters from that mythical fountain are finally trickling toward us. Here’s some more water to splash in.
During the last century:
- The number of Americans who are 65 years or older has tripled, from 4 percent to.
- The total world population of people older than 65 has increased from 3 million to 31 million.
- The number of people ages 65 to 74 has increased eightfold, and the survival of people ages 75 to 84 has increased more than 25 percent.
The average American now lives to be 76, but we all know people in their 80s and even 90s who are still vibrant and sharp. We also know that it is statistically quite possible to make it to 100. So how can we increase our chance of survival? Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest theory applies to us, too.
Reversing the Process
Oh, to be 75 and feel like 29 again: Wouldn’t that be great? In fact, it may be entirely possible. Cutting-edge medical research is discovering possible ways to prevent or even reverse some of the maladies most commonly associated with aging. This list includes Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, strokes, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
While we wait for mainstream medicine to catch up to us, we can look toward the vast array of alternative treatments and anecdotal remedies that already exist. Much of this information is readily available, but it might not have caught the eye or interest of your doctor. It’s up to you to put in the work, energy, and effort to seek out the information that will help prolong your life and vitality you have to become your own Director of Prevention.
You might have developed unhealthy habits along the way, such as a poor diet, cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, or inappropriate use of medications. Or perhaps you have become overweight, sedentary, or super stressed-out. Each of these factors contributes to premature aging and the early onset of chronic diseases.
Eating a wholesome diet consisting largely of fresh fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, provides antioxidants and phyto-chemicals that can help protect you from the ravages of aging. Specific antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene, also can protect you from premature aging. Incorporating other nutrients, hormones, and herbs into your diet, as well as starting a regular exercise program and having a great attitude, go a long way toward keeping you young in mind, body, and spirit.
Staying young can also help us stay out of debt. If we could slow the onset of aging and eliminate many degenerative diseases, we could cut our nation’s total health-care expenditure significantly. And think how much we could accomplish with all the money we’d save. We could provide needed immunizations for children of welfare recipients, clean toxic waste and pollution from our oceans, maybe even buy another set of china for the White House. The bottom line is: A healthier population means a healthier economy.