Since we were young, we have been told that to live a long life; we need to eat healthy, exercise, and avoid harmful vices. We may also incorporate factors that add meaning to our lives, like making friendships, building families, and picking a career worth pursuing.
However, it’s more complex than it seems. Many people often ignore the “tried-and-true” formula because life is not as predictable as we claim. We must recognize the reasons and factors why people don’t have a healthy diet, similar to why certain people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.
Nevertheless, it is not hopeless. If there’s anything constant, it’s that the human spirit is the single proof of our collective strength as a species. Humanity has lived through wars, shortages, and environmental issues and learned to turn things around for the better.
Now, in the era of research and technology, our lifespans have steadily increased over generations. In 1960, the average life expectancy of a man was 67; now, it’s 77. If we continue to make positive progress, it’s possible that a person can live even longer within a short number of years.
Anyone Can Live a Long Life
Another positive news is that it’s never too late if you lament your past. If you happen to live through poverty, have a chronic illness, or worry that your quality of life might hinder your future—there is still a chance. Yes, even if you’re not living lavishly, you, too, can live a long life, provided you make lifestyle changes.
In 2022, a study was published in “Age and Ageing” by The Japan Collaborate Cohort Study Group. These Osaka-based researchers examined the impact of adjusting lifestyle habits on life expectancy from middle age onwards. During this study, they discovered that adopting five or more healthy lifestyle behaviors boost life expectancy even for those over 80, including those with chronic conditions!
So, what does this mean?
It means one thing: It’s never too late. If you are thinking of improving your life, you can start now, even if you have a chronic illness. According to Dr. Ryoto Sakaniwa in the article, healthy 40-year-olds who actively reduced alcohol, stopped smoking, lost weight, and increased sleep added six more years into their lives. That’s just four small habits they decided on!
So, what’s in store for the future?
While the research is still relatively new, it shows promising changes we can adapt to in our healthcare system. While you certainly won’t be able to get rid of a chronic illness, learning to make minor adjustments can make it more manageable and worthwhile. Additionally, shifting your mind more positively can add years instead of doing the opposite. Once you let go of preconceived notions about health and illness, you learn that you still have much more to live for!