Healthy lifestyle has the most influence on how long – and how well – we will live. Yes, genetics also play a role, and it’s important for us to know our family histories. But if your parents have passed away, ask yourself if perhaps they robbed themselves of added good years by smoking, drinking, eating the wrong foods, and not exercising. The length and quality of our lives depend much more on what we do than what our parents did – or didn’t do.
Herein lays a real irony. On the one hand, we boomers are expected to live longer and better than our parents, in fact remaining relatively independ- ent into our eighties and perhaps even nineties. But on the other hand, government statistics and studies comparing us with the previous generation indicate that we’re more obese by age 40 (32% vs. 16%) and less likely to pursue good health habits. On average, a woman in her 40s today is 25 pounds heavier than one the same age in the 1960s (168 vs. 143 lbs.), and both men and women in their sixties today are at least ten pounds heavier than their opposite numbers were even a decade ago.
So what does it take for us to enjoy good health? We know that it comes down to proper diet, exercise, not smoking, avoiding alcohol in excess, and getting enough sleep. But if we’re stressed, too busy, prone to procrasti- nation, or simply lack the will for whatever reason, we just don’t do it.
So maybe the key is start with the basics and go slow. Discover what your
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