By in Health & Fitness

Nature -vs- Nurture: The Length and Quality of Our Life

I have a friend who is 81 and owns 3 airplanes. He skis, he rides a motorcycle, he rebuilds cars and their engines, he jogs. He is a machinist, still working. He is thin and energetic.

Other persons I've known are thin, young, and exercise regularly. Yet they have cholesterol problems. They have diabetes. They suffer high blood pressure. Really, if we stop and reflect, don't we all know people of both types?

I, on the other hand, and sedentary. I'm fat. For exercise I push a mouse and when I feel like exerting myself, I click the button. I eat a lot of meat. I love grease. Sweets are a delight to me. I'll eat a number of donuts at one sitting. I have no diabetes. I have good blood pressure. I don't suffer from high cholesterol. My mind is sharp.

What's the deal? Clearly my lifestyle is not the one of choice. I'll be the first to admit that.

The deal is, there are two aspects to human life. One is its length. The other is its quality. But there are two factors influencing these -- nature and nurture. The cards (or genes) we are dealt and the effort we take to preserve our bodies. Toss in a smidgen of coincidence, such as the virus a teenager experiences that knocks out his pancreas.

Unquestionably, of the two factors, genes play the larger role as to length of life. And, as for me, the lack of classic illnesses those who do their best to care for their bodies may experience. So is that care or nurturing unimportant? Not at all. One, because of genes, may live a longer life. Yet that life may be miserable if one doesn't take proper precautions. The longer life may be spent in taking pills, or undergoing dialysis. And if the genes dictate a shorter life, that shorter life will likewise be more likely to be a pleasurable one.

My friend, mentioned early on, had a brother and a son both die of lung cancer. He, doubtless partly influenced by exercise and diet, was a picture of health. Still, he was just diagnosed with lung cancer. Did he gain anything? Well, he has lived a longer life. But primarily, he has enjoyed a superior quality of life.

Nature -vs- Nurture? Perhaps it is somewhat equivalent to Length of Life -vs- Quality of Life, if time and unseen occurrence are dismissed. What do you think? If not, then what's the point in exercising and "eating healthy"?

Image Credit » Pixabay

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MegL wrote on June 15, 2017, 3:16 PM

I enjoy exercise, I feel much better when I take it regularly. I also love meat and sweet stuff but I try to keep off carbohydrates where possible. I lost nearly 2 stone there recently with dieting (800 calorie 8 week blood sugar diet). It was hard work but I do feel a Lot better for it, sleeping better and not feeling heart palpitations. Nature and nurture - the age old question. Both!

Last Edited: June 15, 2017, 3:17 PM

lookatdesktop wrote on June 16, 2017, 11:39 AM

Good points. I do not eat healthy but am always told that I should. I often remind myself that my older brother has onset adult diabetes and do I want that for myself? No, but I still drink a coke or Dr. pepper now and then. I guess I worry a lot about poor nutrition. I already have moderately higher than perfect blood pressure and am on a daily pill for that. I do not want to get what my brother has and I often worry about my future health. My doctor said the only thing I need to work on is bringing my LDL a little bit down and raising my Vitamin D2 up by taking a weekly supplement of 50,000 IU to get my level back up. I do need to get out in the sun more.

VinceSummers wrote on June 16, 2017, 3:09 PM

I'd just as soon take the Vitamin D and stay out of the sun. I think sometimes we worry about poor nutrition when we should worry more about excess nutrition.