We Are Living Longer – Not Healthier

Australians are living longer than ever but not healthier, due to the rise of lifestyle diseases.

Women born in 2009 can expect to live to almost 84, while men can expect to reach their 79th birthday, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.

But for many, those final years are racked with serious illness or disability, despite medical and technological advances that keep us alive longer.

New research shows babies born today will experience an extra year of serious illness or disability compared with those born 30 years ago.

There is a disturbing shift towards lifestyle diseases, with soaring rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. We’re able to control a lot of ailments through the use of drugs which enable people to live longer but not always well.

Life expectancy is increasing, however this is not because we’re making better health choices, such as eating better or exercising more. We’re living longer purely because of medical interventions. Studies have estimated the life expectancy of an obese person aged 20 years is likely to be around four years less than that of a person with a normal body mass.

Cancer Council research found a waistline of more than 100 centimetres for men, and 85 centimetres for women, significantly increases the risk of some cancers. For example, the risk of colon cancer is 72 per cent higher in men with waistlines wider than 100 centimetres, and women are at 33 per cent greater risk of colon cancer if they have a waistline that is wider than 85 centimetres. Besides the increased cancer risk, being overweight or obese also reduces quality of life as a result of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis, psychological disorders and social problems.

The Implications

As people are living longer, they are also living a greater part of their life with a disability. Being overweight or obese can extenuate musculoskeletal deficiencies such as incorrect postural alignment leading to chronic back, hip and knee pain. Flexibility and strength is needed to perform everyday activities with relative ease. To get out of bed, lift children, or sweep the floor, we need flexibility combined with adequate postural strength. Flexibility and muscle strength tends to deteriorate with age, often due to a sedentary lifestyle. Without adequate flexibility and strength, daily activities become more difficult to perform and chronic injuries will inevitably develop.

So ask yourself the question, are you currently doing everything in your power to live longer with a better quality of life. What is a better quality of life? Do you run out of breath easily, struggle to stand up from ground level, always feel fatigued or just simply get down in the dumps when you look at yourself in the mirror? Well enough is enough! Seek guidance on how you live those extra years, granted by modern medicine, to the fullest. Optimum Health Solutions’ Exercise Physiologists are ready to help you do this and allow you to take control of your life by taking control over your health. Contact your nearest studio for a free initial consultation and the beginning of a new fulfilled you.

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