Did you know that there were 12,908 centenarians in Canada as of 2021? That’s a huge number of folks reaching the 100 year old mark! Now compare that number to 50 years ago (1971), when there were only 1,065 people in Canada aged 100 years or older. What a difference!
People’s life spans (longevity) have been increasing exponentially. The number of Canadian centenarians is expected to increase even more rapidly between 2046 and 2065, when many baby boomers will turn 100. By 2065, there is projected to be over 87,500 centenarians in Canada. Wow!
Will You Be Celebrating 100?
The prospect of a 100-year lifespan is now more and more likely for many people. It’s an occurrence which is being celebrated on a regular basis these days. According to a survey by The United Nations: “The life span of adults in the developed world has increased since the middle of the 20th century – the number of people reaching the age of 100 years has never been greater than it is today.”
How many years do you have left before you reach 100? Is it 20, 30, 40, 50 – more? How do you want to live them? Do you feel your present lifestyle will be a contributor to a longer or less long life? Do you want to try to change some of your habits now, before it’s too late?
On the Lighter Side
Consider these words from comedian and actor George Burns: “If you live to be one hundred, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age.”
The following quote is also frequently attributed to Burns: “If I knew I was going to live to 100, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Certainly food for thought – and the point of this blog post.
How Can We Take Better Care of Ourselves?
Research in epigenetics indicates that good lifestyle choices can turn on our body’s disease-preventing genes and turn off disease-promoting genes. Although genetics plays a large role in our longevity, we can no longer blame it solely on our genes for contributing to an early demise.
Studies have determined that in reaching age 100, only 30% of health is genetics, 70% is lifestyle choices. But by age 110, it’s the opposite with 70% due to genetics and 30% health behaviours.
Meanwhile, it appears that we can possibly change the course of our own history if we adjust our lifestyles today.
Henry S. Lodge MD, co-author of the book, Younger Next Year, reports that over 50% of all illness and injuries in the last third of life can be eliminated or reduced by making changes to our lifestyle habits:
a) Include daily exercise – become more physically active
b) Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption
c) Eat a healthy, nutritious diet
d) Manage stress
e) Participate in daily cognitive exercises and activities
f) Make an emotional commitment to change
Move It or Lose It
Modern, sedentary living is a death sentence in the making. As is allowing our brains to become inactive. Given that the human body has built-in mechanisms for decay and growth, regeneration, maintaining homeostasis, and improving vitality, we should do all we can for ourselves to keep our bodies firing on all cylinders. Physical exercise is the master signaller for these processes, and is, therefore, a key component in healthy aging.
Tips For Making Lifestyle Changes:
- Find your “why.” Why do you want to change? What is the most important reason for wanting to make the effort needed to change one or more habits? This is the motivation that will help you sustain your efforts going forward.
- Start slowly but start! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Try committing to making just one change and do it for 30 days. Recommit every day to stay 100% focused on it. Remind yourself of your reason(s) “why.” You’ll reap the benefits in no time flat.
- Enlist an accountability buddy – someone who’ll make the change along with you. Someone you can share your challenges and successes with and they theirs with you. It’s easier if you both can support each other and share your achievement(s) together.
- Alternatively, seek out guidance from an expert who can put you on the right track; someone who can give you the ‘tools’ to help you understand and overcome the reasons why you may be resisting making healthy changes.
Estimates from the United Nations suggest that the worldwide population aged 65 and over, will increase 181%, between 2010 and 2050, compared to a 33% percent increase in people aged 15 to 65. Don’t we owe it to our children and future generations (and ourselves!) to become more responsible for how we age? We think so.
And One Last Word From Mr. Burns
“There’s an old saying, ‘Life begins at forty.’ That’s silly. Life begins every morning you wake up.”