How Long You Live Matters Less than How You Live

We’d all like to live to a ripe old age, right? If you could have it your way, would you choose to stay on Earth a few, or a few hundred, extra years? Before you answer, you might want to ask what condition your physical and mental health would be in during your long life.

While living for a long time is an attractive prospect, this would only be enjoyable from a state of wellness. If your health is very poor, those extra years could be torture. This was recently evidenced in a new study released by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The study focused on a certain type of worms, known as C. elegans, that had been genetically tweaked to live longer. These worms were used because their genes have found to have similarities to mammalian genes. During the study, the state of health of the worms was observed as they grew older (at the beginning of the study, the worms were in good health).

Results of the observation showed that the altered worms, although they did indeed live longer than worms that were not genetically altered, spent most of their lives at “less than 50 percent of measured maximum function,” compared to the control group. The worm’s condition for most of their lives was, in a nutshell, one of frailty.

According to the study’s principal investigator, Heidi A. Tissenbaum, “this study suggests that there is a separate and unexplored group of genes that allow us to perform at a higher level physically as we age. When we study aging we can no longer look at lifespan as the only parameter; we also have to consider health as a distinct factor of its own.”

Man hugging his wife on the beachThis study really brings to mind the fact that no matter how long our lives, if we don’t have our health, we don’t have much. Thus, living to age 75 in perfect health would be far preferable to living to age 90 where the last 30 years of life were torture – wouldn’t you agree? Age is much less relevant than the quality of life we enjoy at that age.

The good news is, while we don’t control how long we live, we do have a lot of control over how well we live. Taking charge of your health now, and committing to a lifestyle of wellness no matter what age you are, will give you the best chance of getting the absolute most out of however many years you have on this planet.

-The Alternative Daily


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