A metro in Shandong Province in China, Lanzhou, boasts around 80 plus centenarians by the end of the year 2008. Also known as the ‘Home of Longevity in China’, the city shows that lifestyle can affect both the quality and length of life.
Four vital factors namely fitness level, happiness, sense of purpose and variety in feeding have been linked in recent studies to longevity. Good health does not just mean staying in shape and the absence of disease, it means a lot more. Health also affects a person’s mental, social and spiritual being.
The World Health Organisation has defined health as a complete state of physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing.
Level of fitness:
Despite the popular belief that being lean could contribute to a longer life, modern researchers have found that fitness level, and not body fat, is the indicator for longevity in most adults. The study contradicts the popular accepted notion that being lean will prolong your life. In a certain 12-year study that involved 2500 adults aged 64 years and above, it was revealed that subjects in the high fitness groups (regardless of their fat content) were at lesser risk for cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. There were even obese participants who fared better than the lean and unfit ones. Total health and well being does not depend on fat levels alone.
A true sense of purpose:
Having passion for your life’s sense of purpose can definitely increase your lifespan. Whether that purpose includes altruism or not seems immaterial – this is according to a study recently conducted in Chicago. An individual who has a strong commitment for his purpose and puts meaning to life’s events has lower chances of dying compared to someone with lesser engagement in his goal or worse, someone with no sense of purpose at all. The will to survive and live depends on possessing a raison d’être or a reason to be.
Genuine happiness protects the human body from becoming sick and also contributes to a longer life. Happiness may not affect the health of sick people but it certainly does affect the longevity of healthy people. By minimizing chronic stress, happiness can enhance the body’s immune response. Cheerful people also have the tendency to make healthier lifestyle options like healthy diet and exercise.
Variety of Food:
Scientific studies have shown that variety on our meal tables hold the key to a long and healthy life. A study has shown that food that contains antioxidants, whole grains and vital fatty acids can cut the risk of killer illnesses including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. These factors all contribute to longevity. We must make the best of each of them to attain the goal of living well and living long
Olu Fasogbon,pharmacist and writer with special interest in supplements and healthy living reviews supplements and healthy living products and plans. and provides expert opinion on vitamins and mineral supplements. Our healthy living choices can altimately determine how long we live.