Healthspan Matters

June 27, 2023

In the pursuit of longevity, we often focus on extending our lifespan, the number of years we spend on this planet. However, there is another crucial aspect of aging that deserves equal attention: healthspan. Healthspan refers to the period of our lives during which we enjoy good health, free from chronic diseases and disabilities. While lifespan focuses on the length of life, healthspan emphasizes the quality of life. Recognizing the significant of healthspan alongside lifespan is essential.

The Paradigm Shift:

Traditionally, medical research and practice has concentrated on treating diseases and increasing lifespan. However, a paradigm shift is occurring, with experts and scientists recognizing the importance of healthspan. After all, what good is a long life if it is plagued by illness, pain, and suffering? The quality of your years and health does matter.

Where to Start:

There are key lifestyle factors that directly impact your healthspan. These factors include nutrition and how we fuel our bodies, physical activity and exercise, sleep, stress management, and social connectedness. Making big changes in all of these categories all at once is overwhelming and often not sustainable.

As a Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, my advice is to make a list of habits and behaviors within the above categories that are a possibility for you to take that will enhance your health. From there pick 1 or 2 for the week to focus on. Write them down, tell a family member or friend and ask that they help hold you accountable. Track your ability to perform that behavior. Once you are performing it consistently and it is no longer a focused effort for you, pick 1-2 new items to focus on. Slowly integrating changes into your life will last longer than any “quick fix” diets or health plans you may see.

Check out the Lifestyle section of our website for more in-depth details on the different areas that impact your healthspan and actions you can take to set yourself up on your best health journey.