There Is a Better Way to Health

It wouldn’t be the first time any of us have heard the statement that our healthcare system is broken or that our current societal approach to healthcare is mainly reactive and deprioritizes whole-person health and well-being. We know that what we eat matters, sleep is essential, and exercise is good for us, yet for what is the most essential element of our lives – our health – we seem stuck in a “do-loop” of systemic issues and bad decisions. 

But lest we think that all is doomed, we’ve increased our lifespan by 70% over the past 100 years. We’ve learned that we can make changes that affect lifespan, and we have the potential to make simple adjustments that can have a massive impact on the cost of care and the outcomes that we get from our health decisions and our health system. 

The challenge to overcome the mediocre return from ~$4.2 trillion in healthcare spend must be met with an individual and societal shift toward mind-body wellness combined with real-time data so that we can save billions in healthcare costs, improve the quality of care, and empower every individual to live a happy, healthy life and attain previously unimaginable capabilities. Net net, when we put effort into improving “life,” we get a good return. 

How do we resolve the apparent conflict between human biology and lifestyle?

Pursuing healthy living is a journey marked by a tapestry of challenges that often test our resolve and dedication. It’s a day-to-day challenge where temptations clash with intentions, where time becomes the enemy in the quest for balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and mental well-being. Amidst the fast-paced rhythms of modern life, the challenges of healthy living emerge in various guises, from the allure of convenience in processed foods to the struggle to carve out moments for self-care amidst demanding schedules. Emotional hurdles, societal pressures, and the constant influx of conflicting information further complicate this journey. Yet, within these challenges lie opportunities for growth, resilience, and healthy living. It’s simple and easy to see a path forward.  Embracing three main categories of health improvement makes our health journey much more accessible: Time, Daily Practices, and Health Data. 


We can start by thinking about how we use our 168 hours per week. We’ve become good at understanding how to invest our money; 401ks, college funds, and budgets are all concepts that have worked for us to improve our financial health. If we think about the time we have each week to affect our health, we can get a similar return. We would invest 33% of our time in sleep, 4% of our time in exercise, 23% of our time working, 10% with family and friends, and so on.  Being intentional about how we use our time will get us a direct result in improving our health.  

Daily Practices

Exploring strategies for how we go about our daily practices starts with how we want to think about ourselves and how we want to show up for our work, family, and friends.

The more we invest in ourselves, the better our health becomes. Since life is a journey, not an episode of just one day, we can think about habit-stacking – adding to life, not making living a good life into doing something “extra.” Our habits become self-reinforcing because when we combine what we do (our daily practices) and how we choose to live, we prove that health and wellness are connected to healthcare by showcasing their essential interdependence.

Making informed choices regarding these factors can profoundly influence the quality and duration of a healthy life. It’s truly as simple as having a daily list of what we need to do to affect our healthspan. We allocate time to the core activities of sleep, eating, and exercise. We create goals for learning, like reading for a half hour or journaling every day. We spend time outside to benefit from the environment and the healing nature of the sun. We make it a priority to do something like breath work or meditation, and we spend time with friends, family, and our community. A simple list that can be summarized on a sheet of paper that can make a material difference in our life and our healthspan.

Health Data 

The world as we know it would be lost without data. We need it to be informed, to make decisions, to know the context, etc. And the easier it is to get and use data, the better the system. It would be hard to know when to buy an airplane ticket if we did not know the price (data) and so on. While genetics also play a role, lifestyle choices often have a more significant impact on healthspan. So, for our health, we need to start to build a habit of knowing the data that makes an impact on our longevity. It can be as simple as getting our blood pressure checked when walking into a Walmart to writing down how many hours we slept, to counting our calories. 

Just having a sense of some form of measurement is helpful. We can see improvements and issues the more we look at the data regularly. Of course, we need to do the recommended health monitoring: Regular health check-ups, screenings, and proactive management of chronic conditions contribute to early detection and better control of health issues, thereby extending healthspan. And enabling the easy sharing of this data with our physician or insurance company just makes it all come together better.

Owning health-span 

The bottom line is that for all of the big ideas we need to make life better and all of the advancements that can help us live longer, we can make significant progress towards living longer, happier, and healthier with small changes that are in our hands, today, that we can action with no additional resource, just a simple decision to own it and make health-span a basic concept of living.

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