By Laurie Sweig
The term “healthspan” has been popping up frequently in the last while. I looked up the definition and it is “The part of a person’s life during which they are generally in good health.” If I had taken a guess it would have been something like that. For years I have said that I stick with my healthy habits not to live longer but to feel good while I am here. I know and appreciate there are diseases and/or accidents that could happen to me that I have no control over. My life could change in a heartbeat. At the moment, I am feeling good and I’m beyond grateful for that.
There are five habits that affect our healthspan, and they are:
• Eating a healthy diet
• Regular exercise
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Moderate alcohol consumption
• Not smoking
There are no surprises on that list. There have been studies that have proven that adhering to those habits could result in lengthening a lifespan by up to 10 years. The cool thing about the healthspan perspective is that it focuses on quality instead of quantity. What if we stop thinking about how long we might live (no control over that) to how we live (great amount of control over that).
It starts with choosing how to fuel that beautiful body of yours. You know what I’m going to write next. Say it with me: fruits and vegetables. Stay away from processed and packaged foods. Make it yourself. Find a way, find the time. Plan out your meals for the next week. Do it while you’re getting your regular exercise. See what I did there? Combine those two and you’ve taken care of the part about maintaining a healthy weight.
Sounds easy on paper but it can be hard to get started. Once you get a couple of good days under your belt it gets easier. Then what happens is that you notice changes. You scratch your arm and you notice you have a bicep muscle. Or you carry two bags of groceries into the house instead of one without noticing until you’ve put them down on the counter. Then there’s my favourite, doing up a jacket without inhaling first.
Healthspan is the part of our lives where we are generally in good health. I’m hoping that’s going to be most of my lifespan. How about you?
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor. She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.