Feeling better and living longer

Of course we all want to spring out of bed every morning, bursting with energy and feeling like a million dollars. But for many of us it seems too hard, or too boring, or too late to start living more healthily and feeling better.

The reality is that there are some simple, inexpensive changes many of us can make to our lives to feel healthier and better quite quickly. Much of this is common knowledge (although not necessarily well followed) like exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, eating well and getting enough sleep, but some of it is less so. There’s a growing body of research which shows that there are several other factors which are equally important for good health. These are things like:

  • Keeping your brain active and engaged

  • Having close personal relationships and a deep connection with your community

  • Having a sense of meaning or purpose in your life, feeling valued

  • Spirituality, a connection to something bigger than yourself

The good news is that you are already likely to be fitter and healthier than your parents were at your age. And, while the average life expectancy in Australia is currently in the early to mid eighties, if you are still healthy at the age of 50, your actual life expectancy is significantly higher than that. Also, while genetics plays a part in how long you live and how healthy you are, the latest research indicates it’s a relatively small part (around 20-30%) - the rest of it is down to how you live, and it’s never too late to start!

Further reading

The big five: five simple things you can do to live a longer, healthier life. Sanjiv Chopra, MD (2016). Sanjiv Chopra outlines five simple, easy-to-adopt, virtually free things which everyone can do to live longer, healthier lives.