China has longevity licked

Generally speaking, you would think China would be an unhealthy place to live given all the bad press they have received about their lack of food standards, dangerous lead-laced toys, environmental abuses, exorbitant pollution, and widespread poverty. However, there are two surprising facts that have emerged recently: China boasts a life expectancy surprisingly close to that of the United States and perhaps not surprisingly they do this by spending a lot less money.

The US life expectancy is about 78 years, compared to China’s of 73 years overall, though it rises to around 80 years in cities like Beijing and Shanghai and Hong Kong is out in front with over 82 years. What do the Chinese pay for these extra years of life? Just $277 a head on healthcare in a year, compared to the United States where it is a staggering $6,100 a head each year.

The Chinese are great smokers, live with the many health hazards inherent with living in hugely over-crowded cities and in one of the most polluted countries on earth. So what is their secret? Well it is very simple and down to the fact that daily exercise is widespread and woven into the Chinese culture, offering more than just a way to burn calories. It also enforces social interaction, limiting the isolation that so often comes with old age in the West. Any visitor to China is struck by the way masses of people can be seen practicing tai-chi, aerobics, games, and even open air ballroom dancing. Every day exercise is vital for health and longevity and if you want to try something different from your usual morning or evening walk, then studies have pinpointed several benefits of Tai Chi, as it stimulates your central nervous system, lowers your blood pressure, relieves stress, tones muscles and helps with digestion and waste elimination. If you want to find a teacher locally, then ask at your local alternative health centre or shop for a personal recommendation or visit and just search your postcode.