Healthspan is a term that is becoming more popular, but what does it mean?
Let's start by defining a few things:
Lifespan: From birth to death. Oxford Languages defines Lifespan as the length of time for which a person or animal lives or a thing functions.
Healthy: The World Health Organization defines health as: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic, or social condition. Therefore Healthy is living in a state of health.
Healthspan can then be defined as the length of time for which a person functions in a state of health. We used to thank that generally, people operate in a fairly healthy state until they get "old" and then their health diminishes and their quality of life follows, then they die and that is growing old. Sounds great right? I mean Sign me Up!!! umm NO.
What we now know is that our lifestyle and behavior greatly impact our healthspan. Most of us know what to do, but struggle to move into action. I believe in cultivating those thoughts to create results - action! You can do this! We want your healthspan to match your lifespan as closely as possible.
What can I do?
Moderate exercise at least 30 minutes a day - this can include natural movement, hobbies, and activities that keep you moving.
Strength training at least 2 days a week. As we age or muscle and bone mass decrease. New studies show it is more directly related to the reduced level of activity vs aging itself, but strength training can even increase our muscle and bone mass over time.
Eat lots of whole food, plant-based foods. You don't have to go vegan or vegetarian, but studies show that eating more plant-based foods improves our health and our healthspan. Reducing our animal and dairy fat can help our telomeres.
Get enough sleep. This is something science is beginning to understand impacts our health more than previously thought. Sleep matters!
Have a social network. Relationships and close friendships, combined with support help us be healthier.
Have a purpose, passion. Studies have shown that having a "reason to get up" each day matters. Invest in your passions, find purpose in what you do.
Healthy supplementation. It can be hard to meet our nutritional needs even for the best eater, but most of us fall short; fill in the gaps with good supplements.
Reduce pesticide exposure. There is probably no truly pesticide free food due to excessive use and exposure from wind and water, but we can try. Organic foods are a great place to start.
Reduce chemical exposure - Go non-toxic when choosing cleaning products, fabrics, personal products, paints, etc.
Indoor plants. Having more house plants can help filter your air.
Watch self criticism and exercise self-compassion
Reduce screen time. Letting our minds wander is good for us as well as finding hobbies outside of scrolling, TV, Internet, etc.
Let it go! Letting stress go is a key component to our wellbeing. Practice deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness, and prayer to help develop the habit of letting go of things that are not in your control.
In the battle of healthspan vs Lifespan, let's make it a tie! Your challenge is to create a lifestyle that will help provide a health span that will match your life span!
Van and I are Independent Shaklee Distributors and we do believe in supplementation, but as a health coach, I believe we start with healthy eating and that making sure that plant-based, non-processed foods are at the heart of every meal is where we start. It's called "supplementation", not "Primarymentation". If you would like help reaching your wellness goals schedule a coaching session today. https://yieldingaction.com