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Health-Span vs. Lifespan

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I came across a new blog that may be of interest to readers of Beyond50Health.com: Strong Medicine: Exploring the Science, Art and Practice of Sustainable Health and Strength. The introductory post had a thought-provoking discussion about immortality (or mortality), extending lifespan, and the idea that we should be focusing more on our health-span. That is, we should be looking at how we can improve the number of years in which we can enjoy excellent and productive health.

I’m sure most of us have thought about how long we’d like to live. Some people say 100 years, while others give a smaller number such as 80. When asked why they went with the smaller number, they will say something to the effect that they don’t want to spend years as an invalid or suffering in poor health. The topic of health-span addresses this very issue.

With the extension of lifespan, there are interesting ethical and philosophical questions about how the world will sustain the resultant growing population, a population that could require extensive healthcare. A high level of funding has been allocated to research about increasing lifespan, but one could question the soundness of such research if health is so poor for those who reach old age. The Strong Medicine blog will be examining how to increase health-span, with one of the upcoming topics slated to be intermittent fasting. (The blog Strong Medicine is partly in support of the book, Strong Medicine, by Dr. Chris Hardy and Marty Gallagher.) I will be interested to hear about other’s experiences with this practice, so feel free to share if this is something you have tried already.

It’s always interesting to read the comments that are shared on a blog, and in this case I was intrigued to find out about the book, Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pender [?] (must have been a typo in the comments, as the listing I find on Amazon is for Paul Pitchford). The commenter makes a comparison to Buddhist monasteries, where “intermittent fasting” has been a staple of health practices for many, many years. Respondents say that the practice of intermittent fasting has helped them to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and to reduce joint and muscular pain. Jack LaLanne, the world famous fitness guru who lived to the age of 96, followed a 16-8 eating plan: lunch at 11 a.m., and dinner at 7 p.m.

Personally, I have experimented with skipping breakfast–I know, some people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day–allowing me to go about 13.5 hours without eating. So far I’ve been pleased with the results, and I look forward to finding out more about how others are profiting from this practice.

I will keep an eye on the new blog Strong Medicine, and I’ll share updates as I see posts that are especially relevant in the beyond 50 health realm.

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