Four Factors of Longevity

Longevity is a subject of increasing concern as we grow older.  We see the dancing centurion on TV or the loving great great grandmother celebrating a milestone birthday with her family and we start wondering how long we will live.  Well, this is a matter of chance and lifestyle where we have some influence, but need a lot of luck.  There are four main factors that influence how long we will live and by paying attention, we can increase our odds of longevity.

First are simply our genes.  Think of genes as the potentiality of events.  Some of us carry greater possibilities for aggressive cancers, degenerating autoimmune diseases, or other serious health issues.  These can be influenced by the next three factors, but truthfully we don’t know enough yet to link true cause and effect for why some people develop diseases and some never manifest.

Second is environment/lifestyle.  If you unknowingly work in an asbestos filled building, live in a high crime area, or even enjoy a life of high risk adventure, your odds of a long life are greatly reduced.  However, even an accountant living in suburbia can be high risk.  Working in a job you hate, being in an antagonistic relationship, working long stressful hours, watching hours of hate-filled news, and many other ways of living lives filled with stress, anger, bitterness can affect our health.  These emotions impact your body by changing the chemical balance in your tissues (muscle tightness, cortisol overload, etc.) which means your body has to use its resources to heal these problems rather than something else.  We hear everywhere that we need to reduce stress, but what they don’t tell you is that the emotional stress causes real physical stress that can cause a plethora of diseases.

Third is what we hate to hear the most, but what we have the most control over, diet.  There are thousands of books, websites and products aimed at telling you what to eat.  There is a real reason for this.  Food is the fuel that gives the body the resources to deal with the environmental and emotional stress.  Those tight neck muscles need vitamins C, E, and D plus omegas and minerals to heal and good fats and proteins for the energy to utilize those vitamins. If you don’t feed your body these things, it will take them from somewhere else which overtime opens the doors to those genes finding expressions or not being able to eliminate environmental toxins.

Fourth is movement.  This is the easiest and hardest way to promote longevity.  It is so hard to get out of that chair when you are working or get off that couch when you are collapsing, but once you start doing it, your body will start to crave it.  You can get the most immediate relief by loosing those tight muscles, changing your focus from the negative thoughts floating through your head, and a real excuse to step back or out of  your environment and just breathe.  If that doesn’t convince you, then consider that it gets your blood and oxygen moving throughout your body which removes toxins and facilitates healing.

So grab an apple, take a walk around the neighborhood, and surround yourself with positivity and your chances of longevity will take a significant jump higher.

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