Seven Keys to Living Longer
By Don Otis –
As a young boy I remember my mom watching this guy on television who wore an odd looking jumpsuit. He did jumping jacks and calisthenics. His upbeat demeanor and encouragement were part of his routine. While I didn’t pay much attention to him, he seemed to be having fun. By now you probably guessed that it was Jack LaLanne, a man who was indisputably way ahead of his time. He died recently at 96 but in the overall scheme of life expectancy, he lived twenty years longer than the average male in the United States.
The Bible gives us no guarantee of years or longevity. It gives us only the hope of eternal life through faith in Christ. Our physical prosperity comes from a number of factors; genetics, diet, attitude, and activity, spirituality, environment, and personal habits. Each of these ingredients has a proven track record of determining how long you will live.
Your genetics play a key factor in susceptibility to heart disease or certain kinds of cancers. If you have a history of breast or prostate cancer in your family, you already know that taking steps to eat healthy or have regular medical tests is vital.
Diet is another key and it is not just about how much you eat but what you put into your body that makes the difference. Would you put corn syrup into your new Toyota? Probably not. Yet many of us continually put harmful substances into our bodies and wonder why our “engine” begins to break down or is sluggish.
Attitude can be a factor for heart disease. A high stress type-A person is far more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke. We call these people “high strung” and wonder why they don’t chill out. There is a health benefit to not sweating the small stuff of life.
Our activity level, as LaLanne proved, plays a pivotal role in how blood flows throughout our system, how food is digested, how muscles and bones grow or support us. Exercise is crucial to healthy living and longevity.
For fitness fanatics everywhere, one of the missing links is spirituality. God has made us as with body, soul, and spirit and when we neglect any one of these we see the negative results. People with a vibrant faith are healthier, happier, and better adjusted than those without faith.
Our environment can be lethal. Ask anyone who lives near a toxic waste facility, has worked around asbestos, or suffered the effects of breathing contaminated air or drinking polluted water. We can mitigate the effects of environmental factors by being aware of these and protecting ourselves from pollutants.
Personal habits you choose such as smoking, heavy drinking, or engaging in risky behaviors will eventually catch up with you. The consequences may take years to surface but they will destroy your health some day.
We have far more control than we realize. The one area where we don’t have control is genetics. Yet even here there are choices we can make to lessen the negative effects or risks. God has given us the power of choice, the power of life, and the power of health. Choose life.
Don S. Otis (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a certified personal trainer, runner, climber, and author of five books. He runs Veritas Communications, a publicity agency based in Canon City, Colorado.