The average life expectancy in the U.S. today is 76 years. Depending on your lifestyle, you may go well beyond that. Here’s a little test to give you an estimate of your expected lifespan. You start with the number 76, and add or subtract from that average.
Exercise: Do you exercise vigorously at least three times a week? If you do, add 3 years to 76. If not, subtract 3 years.
Diet: Do you avoid bad fats and processed foods and, instead, choose lots of omega-3-rich fish and grass-fed beef? If so, add 2 years.
Weight: Are you at a healthy weight? If you’re overweight by 50 pounds or more, subtract 8 years. Thirty to 40 pounds, subtract 4. Ten to 29 pounds, subtract 2.
Blood Pressure: If you know your blood pressure, add 1 year.
Drinking: Do you have more than two alcoholic drinks (cocktails, beer, or wine) a day? If you do, subtract 1 year. And for each additional daily drink, subtract 2 more. (Remember what I said yesterday: One to seven drinks a week is healthy – no more.)
Smoking: If you smoke more than two packs of cigarettes a day, subtract 8 years. One to two packs a day, subtract 6. One-half to one pack, subtract 3.
Driving: Have you received a traffic ticket or been involved in a traffic accident in the past year? If so, subtract 4 years. Other violations, subtract 1. If you always wear your seatbelt, add one.
Working vs. Retiring: If you are 65 or older and are still working, add 3 years.
Relaxation: If you take a relaxed approach to life, add 3 years. If you’re aggressive, driven, or anxious, subtract 3. And if you consider yourself “unhappy,” subtract another year.
Gender: Since women tend to live longer than men, add 3 years if you’re a woman. If you’re a man, subtract 3.
Age: How long you’ve already lived matters. If you’re between the ages of 30 and 39, add 2 years. Forty to 49, add 3. Fifty to 69, add 4. Seventy or older, add 5.
Family History: If any grandparent reached age 85, add 2 years. If all your grandparents reached age 80, add 6. If one of your parents died of a stroke or heart attack before the age of 50, subtract 4.
Based on the above categories, determine what you need to work on. Do you need to exercise more? Eat better? Lose weight? Just because your father died from a heart attack doesn’t mean that is your destiny. You have information he may not have had. Look at the diseases that run in your family and work to lower your risk factors. You can start – today – to improve your longevity by making positive changes.
(Resource: The Longevity Game, by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company)[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician and the author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure and 12 Secrets to Virility, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, and heart health. For more advice on how to stay active and mobile – far into old age – pick up your free copy of Youth Secrets.]