We’re all aging – but are we aging in good health?

A study reported by the European Heart Journal concluded that a 55-year-old nonsmoking female with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an A1C of 6 (elevated) won’t make it to age 75. If she allows her A1C (a measure of blood sugar) to consistently reach 8, her life expectancy drops below age 73.

A combination of increased activity, a healthful diet, and stopping unhealthy habits such as tobacco use will improve your chances of aging in good health. If the woman described above makes a few changes, she could enjoy not only more years, but more pleasurable years.

Will these changes be easy? Probably not. Sometimes it’s easier to keep trying with friends who can encourage and support us when we really, really want that brownie/cigarette/third beer. Choose a buddy to help you achieve your goal.

Having social support is itself a marker for good health as we age. Some individuals depend on workplace relationships for support, and when they retire, find there’s no longer someone to talk to on a daily basis. Developing friendships outside the workplace can alleviate the sudden loss of social connections at retirement.