The majority of my clients are focused on changing how they look (and feel) usually through losing weight. However, I have three other main types of clients. One type is to resolve injuries or pains that they are currently suffering. Another is to work on their physical capabilities, sometimes for a sport, e.g. marathon, but more often to simply be active as they reach 50,60 or 70 years+ in age. My oldest ever client was 86 years old and currently 74 is the oldest I am working with. Despite the age on the passport there can be a huge difference in hour you feel at ant certain age based on your body, pains, strength and flexibility.

Linked to this, is the final type of client I have which is for those who are focused on increasing their health and extending how many years they will be here on the planet. It is along these lines that I read an interesting research journal on life expectancy the other day.

The study looked at how having a purpose in was linked with a significant increased life expectancy. This raises the question of, what factors affect how long you will live and what can you do about it? I summarise that answer below but before that a note that on this topic. Life expectancy is always comes from a bunch of correlated data and it is a complicated process because so many factors are involved. One of the first health books I read was a book called Real Age which looks at all these issues and has a fun test to check your life expectancy which delves into these issues. For example women live longer than men but this has more to do with socio factors of how men live their lives e.g. more go to war, fight, take risks etc over pure biological differences.  

Photo – Life Mortality vs Life Purpose >>>>


The main factors that affect life expectancy which you cannot do much about include genetics and genetic pre-conditions. It also includes your early pre/post birth nutritional status and childhood conditions. Other factors also include where in the world you were born and live as life expectancy varies greatly across the world. Medical technology and advancement also plays a huge role in how long you will live. Access to such advances comes a little back to both where in the world you are living and also your socio-economic status. Whether this latter factor is something you can change is open to debate a little as discussed below.

What can you change?

The top of this list comes back to some old factors you have probably heard and ignored various times. These include –

Smoking – There is not much of a worse idea for your health & life expectancy than taking up and continuing smoking, this is of course not a subject on your mind when one starts smoking especially as most take it up while they are younger. Either way,

Alcohol – The studies still show that drinking alcohol takes years off your life. The recent introduction of reduced intake recommendations for men (14 units per week) comes from the continuing data showing that intake above this shortens your life.

Lifestyle – Obesity – We are in a world of body positivity which is great but there is no way around the data, being obese takes around 4 years off your life expectancy. No one said it was easy to get your body fat down from these levels but the data still says you should be doing it if living longer is your main goal.

Lifestyle – Being Underweight – The Body positive movement has put a light on how being underweight brings with it the same issues on life expectancy as being obese. The body is healthiest in a normal ish range of body fat, not too thin, not too overweight. Once in this range obessing with losing more fat etc does not have much benefit to how long you will live. You would be wiser putting that energy into factors that do influence mortality.  

Lifestyle – Physical Activity – How much movement you do is linked to how long you live yet it does not have to be synomonous with body size. This is where much of the body positive of fat vs thin – healthy vs unhealthy debates begin to arise. Would it better to be normal weight yet never exercise or eat fruit/veg or do these behaviours and be obese. The data is probably leaning towards the obese person. A fairly mute debate in that it is not a binary choice. Either way, you should move to live longer.  

Lifestyle – Food Intake – Adequate Fruit & Veg, Salt intake – How and what food goes into your system does affect life expectancy with main ones being fruit/veg intake and salt intake.

Lifestyle – Socio – Economic Status – Life Expectancy and wealth are fairly related, not so much in terms of being able to drive a Aston Martin vs a Renault Megane but definitely in being deprived to being relatively comfortable for your basics needs in life. How easy this is to change across a population is difficult but for the individual perhaps more manageable. This can mean increasing income, or decreasing overheads / spending habits etc.

Other Factors – The list on life expectancy goes on and on. Studies are showing possible avenues all of the time but the complexity of the data makes it hard to generalise across the board. For a long time being married was fairly certain to raise life expectancy. I saw a study recently showing it helped men live longer but not women. 

Some not so noted factors that should be considered include how dangerous driving is, for example texting while driving, drowsy driving (from not enough sleep) kills a lot of people every year.

Another bigger killer is from mental health and suicide. This that drops into much deeper factors such as how life purpose affects moratlity as we discussed at the beginning of the article.

You may remember last year when I spoke about having a weekly social event was as powerful for your life expectancy was NOT smoking. 

Life Expectancy vs Health Status Life Expectancy

The data for how long we live also includes how long can we expect to experience a good bill of health and how long could we expect to not be at peak health, e.g. possibly unable to work. The data is quite interesting on this but we can delve into that another time as I have written more than enough for one day here  🙂

Photo – Life Expectancy Vs Health Status >>>>


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