Thursday, August 2, 2012

How To Live To 100 (If You Really Want To)

Fauja Singh, 100, receives a finishing
medal after crossing the line in the
 Toronto Waterfront Marathon in
 Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011.
 The Canadian Press / AP
If you had asked me a few years ago if I would like to live to 100, I would have said "no thank you".  Getting old, I thought, meant wheelchairs and Depends, uncontrollable drooling, and senility.  Well, I have looked into it further and have a whole different opinion now.

Last year, a 100 year old man from Canada completed the Toronto Marathon.  Imagine that!  I am just over half his age and have yet to complete a half marathon.  So, it has occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, our bodies don't have to decay away so quickly.  Nor do our minds (although my wife says it's too late for me on that one).

So, 100 might not be so bad after all.  I will probably still shave, though.

In my last essay, I mentioned the book The 100 Year Lifestyle.  I'm not going to write about the book today, but be assured that there are some strategies that the author, Eric Plasker, offers the readers that may be useful.  Another book that I recommend is Chasing Life, by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which documents what we know about slowing the aging process.  

A book I recommend even more, and I plan to write about extensively at a later date, is Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 And Beyond, by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge.

These books all tell us essentially the same thing, some more effectively than others.

  • It is possible to begin in your 50's or 60's (or even later) to regain much of your health through improving your diet and vigorous, abundant exercise.
  • The rapid decline in health that you probably expect to occur is not inevitable, and can in fact be minimized and postponed.
  • The incident of the major causes of death for seniors, such as heart disease, strokes, cancers, and Alzheimer's, are greatly reduced or increased by your choice of lifestyle, even during your senior years.
  • Mental decline can be greatly reduced by physical exercise.
I think about it this way.  If we look at the top 5 or 6 causes of death for seniors (some listed above), there are actual steps you can take right now to reduce your chances of experiencing any one of them!  These steps include aerobic exercise and resistance training, losing weight, exercising our minds, socializing, taking (the right) vitamins and supplements, and baby aspirin.  Sure, some are easy to do and some are hard, but they are all possible for most of us.

Think about what this really means!  If you can reduce your chance of having a heart attack by 30%, that already increases your life expectancy, doesn't it?  I mean, that is a factor that actuarians consider, right?  So, if you do the same for the other causes, now your life expectancy has changed by 5, 10, or even 15 years!  Yeah, you'll probably be run over by a bus, but if that doesn't happen, you can look forward to a heathy, long life!

I hope that this has given you some food for thought.  To close, I would like to offer some inspirational quotes...
"If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!" - Eubie Blake, Micky Mantle, or George Burns (pick one - who really knows?)
"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." -George Bernard Shaw 
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" - Satchel Paige
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. - Mark Twain
“It's paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone.”  - Andy Rooney
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.  - Sophia Loren
Twenty-three is old. It's almost 25, which is like almost mid-20s.” - Jessica Simpson
Thanks for reading. Please post a comment if you wish.

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