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Which Side Are You On?

Maximize your life expectancy

By Kenny Markwardt, CSCS

Despite the advancement of literally everything else in our lives, life expectancy in the United States is actually declining. Think about that for a second. That should be a flabbergasting piece of data.

The generations that have access to a litany of available information, an infinite amount of options for exercise and nutrition, an overwhelming amount of coaches and trainers out there, and the fact that we should be more aware of it than ever, are losing to generations that grew up on cereal and cigarettes.

Are new generations lazier? Do they expect someone else to come and solve their problems before their time on this earth prematurely expires? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I really don’t know the answer.

However, what I do know is that the other side of the spectrum is equally as dramatic. In no other time in human history have we had more fit, healthy and active people who spend a significant part of their time, energy and resources on prolonging their abilities and purpose as high-functioning humans.

These people are exercising and purposefully moving daily. They’re eating well, monitoring relevant numbers, taking care of their bodies and continuing to improve well into the decades that would previously mean getting final affairs in order and checking into assisted living.

On both ends of the spectrum, this curve of function and wellness is only being shifted further in each direction.

The population of overfat, sedentary and improperly nourished is only growing and getting more so. At the same time, the population of fit, strong and mindful about wellness is only expanding as well. The implications of this divide are fascinating to me.

If you can imagine a graph of outlook and future for each, it becomes incredibly significant. While one side will start to see a decline in performance and function as early as their teens and 20s—and will likely only live until their mid-60s or early 70s at best—the other side is still kicking butt into their 70s and 80s, with the potential to live until they reach their early 100s. (And these are only hypotheticals. I can only speak from the anecdotes of witnessing people in their 70s at CrossFit.)

Imagine the difference in quality of life, the length of life and the amount of experience in one’s life for the person who might live twice as long and two to three times as healthy. Imagine the amount of things in your life that you love that you’ll be able to embrace and continue to do with your grandkids and great grandkids!

So which side are you on? Are you treating your body like there’s no tomorrow and that you’ve only got a few years left? Or like it could live and function until triple digits?

I know which side I’m on.

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