Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Secret to Long Life Revealed

If you want to achieve what others do, then logically doesn't it make sense to DO the things others have succeeded at doing? How does someone for instance live to be 100 years of age or older? When something is tried, tested and true, why try to reinvent the wheel. In my journey to health through proper nutrition and exercise, I ask myself what paths have centenarians taken that lead to a long life of health and happiness, and can I make their success mine?

This present mortal life has some certainties, such as if you have an inactive lifestyle, you're going to age faster and increase your exposure to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, bone loss and cardiovascular disease. We know that in contrast regular physical exercise, or an active lifestyle through daily routine, are proven to lower mortality rates. But is there more to it than that? Of course there is. So by studying the lives of those with longevity we can identify several key factors that provide for a foundation of a fulfilling and long life.

So what are the common denominators in the lives of people and cultures that they all do that lead to a path of a long life?

1. Move Naturally for physical activity.
2. The Right Outlook. Downshift and Purpose Now.
3. Eat Wisely. Wine, Plant Slant and 80% Rule.
4. Connect. Love ones first, belong and right tribe.

To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and his team study the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. At a TED presentation, he shares the above common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100.

Of course, there's no guarantee that people who make healthy lifestyle changes will live to age 100. However, you will certainly enjoy a better quality of life and a longer life if you do. Here's my quick laundry list of things to do.

Lose weight. Or if you're at an ideal body weight now, stay there. Extra weight puts a strain on your heart and body and puts people at risk of diseases that shorten life. The simple fact is most people simply eat too much. Cutting back on calories is one step to help trim your waistline and extend life. Research suggests animals fed fewer calories live longer — about 40% longer!

Shape up. Regular exercise can help prevent or delay a laundry list of diseases. The experts say to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise 5 days a week or more. And it's never too late to start a fitness program. Even seniors who've never been active before can work up to a fitness routine that will help keep them strong for years to come. Walking, swimming, dancing — even gardening and housework — can help to stay in shape.

If you smoke, stop. Tobacco-related diseases cause more than 400,000 deaths a year in the USA alone. Yet nearly 50 million Americans still smoke. Go figure.

Socialize. Go to a party, join a movie club, help out at a charity, meetup on the internet. Research suggests that people who build and maintain friendships and family relationships often are healthier and seem to recover from illness faster. Social connections may ward off depression and seem to boost the body's immune system, which helps fight infection.

Reduce stress. Take a walk, meditate, have some quiet time or have lunch with a friend. Scientists say that people who build stress-busting habits into their daily routine gain a big health benefit. Unhealthy stress puts us at risk of getting sick or developing chronic diseases that can cut life short.

Eat a healthy diet. Diets that include 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day can help prevent age-related damage to cells. Fruits and veggies, the more colorful the better, contain protective substances that can help ward off diseases. Most longevity experts recommend cutting down on fatty, salty, sugary foods. Go for lean meats like poultry and fish, as well as a wide variety of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and whole grain foods.

Get a good night's sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation can lead to memory lapses, depression and immune system problems as well as obesity.  Scientists say sleep deprivation may not be a natural part of aging.

It's never too late to start changing bad habits, habits that can shave years off your life and impact the quality of your life.   So, if you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me.  I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts.  I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes.  So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

Test your knowledge on health aging at The Alliance for Aging Research website

1 comment:

  1. The tips you have here are really great you especially about the stress part. I think stress i really a great aging factor. So its a must to release stress.