One of the fastest growing segments of the population today is centenarians, or 100-year old people. In 1980, there were approximately 17,000 people over the age of 100. Today, there are approximately 80,000 people who have reached this milestone. The US Census Bureau estimates that by the time the baby boom generation reaches this landmark age, there will be more than 4.2 million centenarians in the US.

This trend holds true for other industrialized nations including Australia, Canada, and those in Europe. Many of us have noticed this trend first hand by having to cope with the challenges of our aging parents. Unfortunately, many elderly people are unprepared for their extended life.

When today’s centenarians were born in 1905, the life expectancy for a newborn was approximately 50 years. Yet many have outlived their life expectancy by half a century. If these people knew they were going to live this long, do you think many of them would have made better health choices along the way?

We are getting the advanced notice that our parents and grandparents never received. What will you do with this information? Hopefully you will choose to make your health a priority now instead of waiting until it deteriorates to choose a healthy lifestyle. The truth is that we cannot control how long we are going to live.

We can, however, control our health choices. As people age, quality of life choices take on a higher priority. Values turn more toward the physical and physiological standard of living rather than the material standard of living. After all, what good is a nice car if your back hurts too much to sit in the seat and enjoy it? Who cares what your carpet looks like if you don’t have the energy to entertain? Does it matter how much jewelry you have if you are too sick to go out on the town?

Many people spend the first 50 years of their lives ignoring their health while they accumulate wealth, only to spend the next 50 years losing their wealth to buy back their health. Knowing that your longevity potential is 100 years gives you an opportunity to place your health at the top of your value scale.

Every minute of every day we are faced with choices that contribute to our quality of life both now and in the future. We must choose between eating junk food and healthy food, being a couch potato and exercising, stressing out or looking at the bright side, getting regular chiropractic adjustments or living with the consequences of an unhealthy spine and nerve system.

Starting today, make health choices that ensure that each day will be your best, and encourage your family to do the same. After all, 100 years of healthy living is achieved one day at a time.

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