Not too many older adults spend their Saturday nights drag racing cars down a freeway or trying out new street drugs. Older adults are also less likely to binge drink or use tobacco [source: Office of Applied Studies]. And when tragedy strikes during a dangerous stunt being filmed for posting on the Internet, the injured reverse bungee jumper rarely has a head of gray hair (at least immediately before the stunt).
As we get older, we gain a growing sense of mortality and make a series of proper adjustments to put off said mortality as long as possible. Those who aren't willing to make better lifestyle decisions are simply less likely to reach an advanced age, dying early from the effects of tobacco, alcohol, poor diet or other lifestyle factors.
Older adults are more likely to have mammograms and prostate exams, increasing the likelihood that cancer will be detected early enough for treatment [source: Fleck]. Older adults also tend to maintain regular doctors' appointments and be more receptive to their physicians' advice. There's even a health benefit derived from sexuality at an older age: Older adults are a lower-risk demographic for STDs, including HIV/AIDS [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
While making us more self-aware about physical vulnerability and personal safety, advancing age has a way of turning our attention to spiritual growth, leisure activities, regular exercise, interpersonal relationships and self-accountability for our own health, all of which are factors that contribute to a healthier lifestyle [source: Peralta-Catipon and Hwang].
Next: Leaving the unhealthy tasks to the young.