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Are You Fit and Healthy Enough to Live to the Age of 100?

Update Date: Sep 14, 2019 09:45 PM EDT

Wondering about your own longevity is not only normal but a rather common thing. In fact, people go to a lot of trouble to figure out how long they'll be around. And it's not just a matter of wondering how fit or healthy we are. If you can get a grip on your life expectancy, it's easier to make decisions about things like how big of a mortgage to get, what kind of insurance to buy, how much money to save and whether to sell your life insurance policy and use the money now. 

Insurance companies have made a science out of calculating life expectancy for individuals and groups, based on hundreds of categories of data. Many of the top carriers offer calculators or software tools built-in to their websites, with results based on about 10 different health, medical and fitness questions. And if you decide, based on the life expectancy you figure for yourself, that you want to sell your life insurance policy for cash. There are many life settlement companies that specialize in purchasing policies from people who have better uses for the funds. 

One way to boost your chances of living to be 100 is connected to general health and fitness. Experts say that the three easiest things you can do to improve your life span are quitting smoking, getting a moderate amount of regular exercise and keeping your blood pressure (and weight) within reasonable limits based on height, age and gender. Let's take a closer look at each one of those suggestions:

Quitting Smoking 

No matter how old you are or how long you've been smoking, quitting can have a major impact on your longevity and on your chances to survive to the triple digits. Doctors say that after you've been tobacco-free for two years or more, your general cardio-pulmonary health begins to steadily improve. That's one reason life insurance applications often ask, "Have you used tobacco products in the last 2/5/10 years?" And, smoking questions are usually at the top of the list when companies ask applicants about general health. The bottom line: if you smoke, quit right now. Do it on your own if possible, or sign up for a free smoking-cessation program at a local hospital. 

Getting Moderate, Regular Exercise 

There's no need to become a gym rat to improve your health. Fitness experts say all you need is a total weekly accumulation of about 90 minutes or more of moderate aerobic exercise. That can be walking, swimming, cycling or light jogging. More is okay, but an hour and a half per week is also good. Add in one or two weekly sessions of strength training and you have an overall body workout that takes less than 20 minutes per day. 

Stabilizing Your Blood Pressure and Body Weight

Quitting smoking and being sure to do moderate exercise can go a long way toward helping keep your blood pressure within normal limits. But doctors say it's also important to maintain a "height-weight-proportionate" body weight in order to avoid problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and related maladies. Living a long life is about moderation, smart eating and keeping an eye on your general health.

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