Currently, the life expectancy of Americans is 78 years. However, before the year 1900, it was only 47 years. The reason why our ancestors had shorter lives was mainly due to poor medical care, infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera, and the high percentage of fatal accidents.
By Hernandez Marin, M.D.
Science and modern medicine have provided a significant advance in the prevention and treatment of diseases, which has allowed prolonging the life expectancy of the human population.
By having a longer life expectancy, the next challenge is to maintain a useful and healthy life for as many years as possible. Nobody wants 20 additional years of pain, weakness and mental confusion.
To enjoy a long life, you should eat healthily, avoid risks such as driving at high speed, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, learn to cope with stress and especially exercise regularly.
According to the publications made by the World Health Organization (WHO), 40% of Americans have a sedentary lifestyle.
The relationship between exercise and life expectancy is not easy to understand. Poor countries such as Uganda and Lesotho have a high range of exercise, but poor health care and high rates of HIV / AIDS devastate the population. The Chinese population is very active. However, they have an overwhelming pollution that could significantly reduce their life expectancy.
Excluding other variables, there is no doubt that there is a positive relationship between exercise and longer and healthier life. In Europe, where access to medicine is similar in most countries, the populations that perform the most physical activity (Sweden, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Spain) have a longer life expectancy than the less active populations (Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Germany). Canadians with high rates of physical activity also have four more years of life expectancy than their US neighbors.
When WHO evaluated the problem of a sedentary lifestyle, it also established guidelines on how much exercise is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Actually, it's simple.
All you need to start is a little more than 20 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity, balance exercises to help prevent falls, and some exercises to strengthen your muscles.
Next, the guidelines:
150 minutes of moderate/intense aerobic activity per week
Among the activities you can do to accomplish this goal are jogging, swimming, heavy cleaning, cycling from 10 to 12 mph, mowing the lawn, or playing sports such as volleyball, badminton, or table tennis.
Try increasing this to 300 minutes a week to get even more benefits
Do this at least three days a week.
• Walk on your heels and your toes following a straight line.
• Get out of a chair without the help of your hands and arms, cross your arms in front and keep your back straight. Do ten repetitions.
• Place one foot in front of the other and walk with the heel first and then the toe. Do it with your back straight and your abdomen contracted.
• Stand on one foot and try to maintain the position. Extend the arms to improve balance. Repeat with the other foot.