I’m not sure about you, but I want to be moving and shaking when I’m 100. In other words, I want to live a long life but I plan to be healthy, happy and fit 50 years from now. That’s what I call healthspan.

Lifespan, on the other hand, is defined as the number of years you live; it doesn’t take into account health status. Many people look at their lifespan with the assumption that their health will steadily decline, they will end up with at least one chronic disease and will eventually be bedridden. No thank you!

The oldest human lived to be 122. She was a sweet French woman named Jeanne Calment (another reason to live like the French!). Ms. Calment reportedly rode her bike until she was 100 and remained in good health up until a month before her death. She admits to eating a lot of chocolate and smoking cigarettes but she treated her skin with olive oil (no dangerous chemicals) and, according to accounts, was apparently immune to stress. She was quoted as saying, “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it”. I bet her mindset was her biggest advantage to a long healthspan.

How can you increase your healthspan? I firmly believe that culivating a positive mindset is the place to start. Stress is perhaps more damanging to health than poor diet or lifestyle choices. Most stress is more about perception than anything so begin to change the way you look at the world. When I was young, my parents always reminded me to “make it a great day”. I love that advice! Accept that you’re in charge of how your day goes and how much stress you perceive in the world.

Diet and lifestyle shouldn’t be overlooked. Drink pure water, eat fresh vegetables, avoid refined sugar and drink coffee and alcohol in moderation. Find exercise you enjoy and just do it. Spend time in nature enjoying the beauty and breathing the clean air. Cultivate meaningful relationships and spend time with your community of friends. Engage in fullfilling work and hobbies. And remember to enjoy a little chocolate – it worked for Ms. Calmet!

Until next time, make every bite count!