Example of Shortened Healthspan
I'll do my best to put this in list form. A Facebook acquaintance who is a volunteer firefighter in the Midwest and one year older than me lamented on FB about not being able to do much anymore as a firefighter now that he is older.
He shared on FB a while about about having type 2 diabetes. I offered up the ideas of cutting carbs and lifting weights. He blew me off which is certainly his prerogative.
2. A huge boiler
Sorry, calling it like it is. I've been "friends" with him for 7 or 8 years and he's been very overweight the whole time. This is not uncommon in the fire service. Not certain, but I think there is more incentive for firefighters to stay lean when there is a wildland fire component to their job. 50 and overweight is very unlikely to pass the arduous work capacity test (pack test) which requires hike 3 miles in 45 minutes with a 45 pound pack. My department has one guy marginally attached who at 38 is very overweight and hasn't successfully packtested in over 10 years.
3. Example of what I talk about
His hand is being forced which is something I talk about all the time. I can tell from his posts that he loves being a firefighter more than I do. He doesn't think he can do it anymore and is bummed about it.
4. We can have tremendous influence over how we age
I believe most people can determine the rate at which they age, fast or slow, based on a couple of simple habits that I write about all the time. Getting beyond smoking cigarettes and frequently drinking to excess, cutting carbohydrate consumption and lifting weights will greatly slow the aging process. They will also reverse damage caused by many years of poor habits but you have to start, that's up to each person individually. I've had more than one instance of "I was expecting someone older" in the last couple of years. I promise it is more about habits than anything else.
Healthspan is not how long you live, it is being able to do the things you enjoy to an older age. 58 is not an older age. As a 25 year old I would not have been able to comprehend mid-50's as anything but old but I am telling you it does not have to be old. I can bench press much more than I could in college and possibly more than I ever could, it's either now or when I was about 30 but don't have access to a barbell now for an apples to apples. Note that I am not bragging about putting up some nominal weight, you have no idea if I am talking about 100 pounds or 400 pounds. The point is being in my mid-50's and my strength not having deteriorated. I do not pack test as fast as I did 10 years ago but am still a no doubter. What is the thing you love as much as I love firefighting? What do you need to do to be able to do it for longer?