Forget Lifespan, Let’s Talk About Health Span

Life isn’t really about how long you live. It’s about what you make of the years you have. Maybe it’s time to stop obsessing about longevity and start working towards improving your health span instead.

Think about it—it doesn’t matter how old you live to be if you’re sick and bedridden for a decade. What’s more important than longevity is how many healthy years you have. How many years can you stay active, sharp and energized? How many years can you spend actually living your life? That’s what really matters. Old age doesn’t necessarily have to mean sickness and disease.

Senior Black Man Racing on a Road Bike

Only 10% of disease is genetic. 90% is epigenetic (how your genes react and talk with the environment they are in), which means you have the ability to control how you age. Never let any doctor tell you that the symptoms you are experiencing are part of the aging process. Brain fog, memory loss, stubborn weight gain, loss of sex drive, depression, anxiety — all of these symptoms are rooted in how you take care of your body.  Dr. Sara Gottfried, hormone specialist & best-selling author

So how do you improve your health span?

What you choose to eat has a lot to do with it. By consuming inflammation-busting foods, you can help prevent a lot of the chronic health issues that people struggle with as they age, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, dementia, digestive imbalances and hormonal imbalances.

Gottfried also suggests doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts every other day, having good friends and getting quality sleep on the regular.

Couple outdoors with coffee at Lake Tahoe

Wait, good friends? That’s right. Numerous studies have confirmed that the types of people you surround yourself with has an immense impact on your long-term health. Not only do quality social relationships significantly reduce stress and boost happiness, but they actually protect our brains and bodies from premature aging.

People with good friends throughout life experience sharper memory and less mental decline as they age, according to Harvard. Plus, they tend to be in better moods and have a more positive outlook on life, even during times of pain.

When it comes to health and happiness in old age, mood and outlook have a tremendous impact. In fact, older adults who had few to no real friends seem to experience health risks that are similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Yikes—friends are that important!

Surround yourself with people you love and stay on track with your basic wellness habits. Who knows how long you’ll live, but you can make sure you’re able to fully enjoy every minute of it.

Related on Care2

Images via Getty

81 comments

heather g
heather g5 days ago

I really admire a lady aged 101 years who regularly attends her exercise class in her wheelchair.

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Louise A
Louise A6 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Mia B
Mia B8 days ago

thank you for sharing this

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Paula A
Paula A9 days ago

thank you

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Christine Stewart

thanks

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Angela K
Angela K13 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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berny p
berny p13 days ago

thanks

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Donna T
Donna T14 days ago

thank you

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Danuta W
Danuta W14 days ago

thank you for posting

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Kevin B
Kevin B14 days ago

thank you for posting

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