The Science Behind Living an Extended Life full of Health and Vitality
I don't know anyone who wants to live their final years and days in a bed or hospital. We all want to live a full and healthy life to the very end, I know I do.
But how do we get there? What are the keys to living your best life into your 90s and then some?
Well I've been reading and collecting, listening and writing all kinds of little notes these past few months, all things related to this topic, even rewatched the 60 Minutes segment of a group of people in their 90s dubbed “The Oldest Old” and here's what I found.
Regular physical activity. 45 minutes of exercise a day is optimum, while exercising as little as 15 minutes a day on average made a positive difference. Exercising for much longer than 45 minutes made no difference. The exercise doesn’t have to be all at once, neither does the exercise have to be intense, even walking and gardening was considered great.
Exercise & challenge your brain. Things like creativity, reading, and board games are all good. For every hour of activity, you increased your longevity and the benefits of these activities never wore off.
Vitamins such as A, C, E, and calcium didn’t make a difference.
Floss & brush. Poor oral health may have many effects. It can lead to poor nutrition, pain and even a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
Moderate alcohol led up to a 10-15% reduced risk of death compared to non alcohol drinkers. So, cheers!
Mind your stress levels. Very few things age us faster than stress. Get to the root of it and change accordingly.
What you eat doesn't matter really, a balanced diet is the best diet. Even dessert is okay. (Actually stressing about eating causes more risk than your dessert.)
Start early on your good sleep habits.
Have fun and stay positive. If you choose to see yourself as old and failing, you’ll likely carry yourself that way. The key word is “choose”. You have a choice with how you see everything in life, including yourself. Even circumstances outside of your control can be managed positively with a proper attitude.
Smokers died earlier.
Gaining a little weight is good but never overweight.
BONUS - The Japanese live with ‘ikigai’ - an ancient philosophy that preaches that instead of merely existing, you must create joy and purpose in your life such as helping others, activities that give your life meaning, and being surrounded by loving people.
Life's speed accelerates as we get older. We’re often so incredibly focused on our careers and making more money, 'climbing the corporate ladder', tending to others and 'let me just get this done before I start enjoying the day' that we seldom stop to think about what it all means. Perhaps use this new week to have a heart-to-heart with yourself and find out what you really want to do with your time. After you figure out what you want, fight like hell to get there.
I hope you live a long and happy life till the very end.