Live Long and Prosper

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My post from the other day that mentioned living to 100 seemed to spark some interest, so I thought I’d follow up on it with additional info on the topic and provide you with a couple of online quizzes you can take to predict how long you will live.

Although no prediction is set in stone, it is possible to estimate your life span based on certain genetic, demographic, and lifestyle factors, and that is the focus of these online quizzes.

The first site I came across was Living to 100. The 10 minute quiz provides you with an estimate of how long you are expected to live. On this quiz, it was predicted that I will live until the age of 96.

Since I was hoping to hit 100, I had to try and find another life expectancy prediction tool that perhaps used a slightly different set of metrics and as a result might come out better for me. I was able to come across a life expectancy tool that took less than five minutes to complete. Using this tool, my life expectancy was to the age of 95.

So while neither tool predicted that I would make it to 100, it appears that I have at least 38 years to make some changes, (like changing my parents and grandparents medical history 🙁 ) as a way of making my dream come true.

While it is fun to try and estimate how long you may live, to me the real message is understanding what the key longevity factors are and how much of an impact they have on your life span.

Each factor – and the amount of years it adds or subtracts from your baseline life expectancy – is documented by hundreds of medical studies.The two web sites mentioned above are fairly consistent in identifying what those key factors are, things like smoking, nutrition, exercise, sleep, family medical history, and social habits. There’s probably not too many surprises in that list (flossing is on both lists, and it always surprises me how important it is to your overall health), but it’s always helpful to be occasionally reminded of these factors and what impact they have on your health, wellness, and longevity.

It was encouraging to see the multiple dimensions of health and wellness that get incorporated into the age-estimates. I had written an earlier post that looked at the multiple dimensions of health, using the acronym SPICES (Social, Physical, Intellectual, Career, Emotional, and Spiritual) created by the Office of Health Promotion  at Villanova. This mnemonic makes it easy to remember that there is more to being well than just being physically fit.

I encourage you to take the quizzes, and I’d be curious to find out what your age expectancy is, so feel free to leave me a comment here or on Facebook.

And while I hope that you are expected to live a long life, just remember that it’s not the years in your life that matters, but the life in your years.

I plan to write a future post that looks at this very issue, based partially on this interesting article from the Wall Street Journal last week titled, The Caution-vs.-Kicks Quandary.

Until then, may you love long and prosper.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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