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How Modern Medicine Has Increased Life Expectancy In Exchange For Our "Healthspan"

Modern medicine might have enabled us to live for longer, but we now seem to be using that as an excuse to live a far unhealthier lifestyle.

There's a saying that only a few things are unavoidable in life. Birth, death, and taxes. Providing that second one doesn't tragically happen to you early on in life, you can throw growing old on that list as well. While some of us choose to grow old gracefully, a great many of us are dragged into old age kicking and screaming, doing all that we can to fight it.

Turns out there isn't really much you can do about growing old, not medically anyway. If you exercise, on the other hand, you might well slow down the aging process quite a bit, reports BBC. An 87-year-old recently becoming the oldest person to ever complete the London Marathon should be evidence enough that exercise can make all the difference when it comes to looking and feeling better during your later years.

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via BBC

We have a lot to thank modern medicine for. It is the main reason why life expectancy in many parts of the world continues to increase. However, in turn, our reliance on modern medicine has allowed us to become inactive. That's why we struggle so much when we reach the loftier heights of old age that medicine has allowed us to live to in the first place. We live longer but our "healthspan", the time during which we are free from disease, has shortened.

A study conducted in the UK discovered that by the year 2035, many people will spend the extra years granted to them by modern medicine living with four or more diseases. Depending on the diseases, some might not warrant that as a life worth living. That's where exercise comes back into play. While there is no pill that will prevent you from losing muscle mass, regular exercise will certainly keep it topped up.

Studies show that ideally, people should be exercising for between two and eight hours a week from their teens or early 20s. At the moment, less than half of people in the UK aged between 16 and 24 do that, and when you reach the 65 to 74-year-old bracket that figure drops all the way to fewer than one in ten. It's never too late to start though, and hopefully, you'll soon realize that growing old doesn't necessarily have to go hand in hand with feeling old.

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