I was watching a documentary the other day about a trauma unit in a hospital in London. One of the patients was a gentleman in his eighties who had suffered a fall at home. He had a complicated fracture/break in his femur (thigh bone) which required an operation to fix. As well as this he had underlying health conditions with his heart and lungs and he was quite overweight. Despite the risks which are present for anyone who goes under general anaesthetic, he had the surgery which went well. Unfortunately it was the recovery afterwards which his body couldn’t cope with. It was too much strain on his already weakened heart and sadly he passed away just a day after his operation.

Now I can’t say what kind of lifestyle he had which led to his general poor health. Being in his 80’s would have contributed significantly to his decreased chances of a full recovery BUT it did serve as a stark reminder that it is so important to future proof our bodies. Essentially, if you invest in your health now it will be in better shape to cope with everyday stresses and strains as we get older.

Small changes can make a big difference. Eating more fruit and vegetables, increasing our daily physical activity, cutting down on high fat and/or sugary processed foods, keeping within a healthy weight range, limiting our alcohol intake, cutting out smoking, managing stress and getting enough sleep are some of the ways we can future proof our bodies.

Exercise is important for keeping our heart and lungs healthy and efficient. The recommendation is 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (eg swimming, aerobics, walking at a pace that gets your heart rate up) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (eg running, high intensity workouts). Strength training is essential as we age to maintain lean muscle mass and keep our bones strong. Working on balance is an important but often a forgotten element that will help to stop us from having nasty falls. A strong core can also assist with this.

Make gradual changes to your habits and lifestyle, and focus on maintaining consistency rather than aiming for perfection. It’s also important to consult with healthcare professionals before making significant changes to your routine, especially if you already have underlying health conditions.

Remember that there’s no guaranteed way to completely future-proof your body, but by adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can increase your chances of enjoying a higher quality of life as you age and improve your life expectancy.