Factors Affecting Longevity
- Lifestyle choices.
- Quality of exercise and ability to do intelligent workouts that minimize injuries.
- A supportive family.
- Staying life, in part due to wise choices, in part having random good fortune.
- What else? Genetics.
- Having as a conscious goal a determination to remain as well as possible by daily activities that support wellbeing. When very young I didn’t have a clear goal of what I wanted to be professionally, but I sure knew what I didn’t want. I did not want to be poor. Soon enough, I also decided I did not want to be fat, out of shape or unhealthy.
- Having a plan to get stronger and healthier.
- Developing and nurturing a passion for your craft (s).
- Believing in yourself – expecting to excel and acting accordingly.
There are really just three factors – 1) exercise, 2) exercise and 3) exercise.
Of course there are many more but if most people just focused on daily exertions with sufficient intensity, duration and enjoyed doing so sufficiently to keep the habit going, the rest would fall into place.
CHOOSE AND FINE-TUNE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE – AVOID HIGH RISK, LOW RETURN INITIATIVES
Avoid unnecessary risks, unless they meet your risk-taking cost/benefit criteria. Chances are you don’t have such criteria, so consider this single criterion: To chance grave bodily harm or worse, the benefits of an activity should offer substantial pleasure lasting longer than the thrill of an amusement ride.
We’re all in favor of adventures, trying new things, world travel and actions that topple stereotypes about aging. But, resist taking on something new and unfamiliar primarily to impress others, like grandchildren, or to demonstrate your youthful vitality.
What kinds of risks might I have in mind? It doesn’t matter – what matters are the things you’re tempted to do that involve significant dangers. But, for illustrative purposes I’ll mention a few risks that I would enjoy indulging but not so much to be worthy of risking ghastly consequences of poor execution or ill fortune:
- Flying on third-world airlines or touring countries under authoritarian rule (e.g., the Philippines, Russia, Iran).
- Ordering Sannakji in Korean restaurants (Sannakji is a serving of live baby octopus that fights back when you swallow it by suctioning itself to your throat) or eating wild mushrooms or African bullfrogs.
- Bungee-jumping, skydiving, heli-skiing (backcountry style via helicopter drop offs), motorcycle racing or just being on a motorcycle and a lot of events featured in the Winter Olympics, though we have nothing against curling.
RECOGNIZE THAT YOU ARE A MIGHTY FINE SPECIMEN OF HUMANITY
Decide that, all things considered, you have reason to be proud – and by golly, you are. Make like Stuart Smalley and proclaim, I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough and Doggone It, People Like Me!
Treat yourself in a first class manner, whenever affordable. Go forth with shoulders back. Look on the bright side of life, groom carefully and be your natural dynamic self. Being well-maintained physically and looking good will make you feel better. Old age is no time for self-doubt. Celebrate your wonderfulness before it’s too late – there’s no assurance others will do so when you’re gone and, besides, even if they do, you won’t know about it.
DON’T BE A TOPTALE
Perhaps you are not familiar with this neologism.
A toptale is one who turns conversations into competitions by one-upping the speaker. For instance, if you manage to complete your first triathlon without drowning, crashing on the bike or walking the run, he’ll mention winning the First Timers division in his initial outing. Or, if you did a sprint triathlon, he tells you about his Ironman. Margaret Stein of Omaha, NE, writing in the always delightful Anu Garg’s Word of the Day (AWADmail Issue 820, March 18, 2018), offered my favorite toptale:
If you ruined your suit in the thunderstorm, his basement was flooded. If you saw Lin-Manuel Miranda on Broadway, he won VIP tickets and met him backstage. If your aunt just peacefully passed away, his died last week by spontaneous combustion. In short, he’s a relentless and insufferable toptale.
While you’re at it, try not to be a megalochondriac, either. Megalochondria is not uncommon in elders, though it has been known to afflict persons of all ages – and those who have to endure their presence. Megalochondria is a belief that your illness is far worse than it actually is.
Don’t go on about in such a way that your spouse or relatives or friends might say that you have delusions of grandeur about your illnesses. (Credit for this neologism that combines magalomania and hypochondria to Shannon O’Hara of Chicago, Illinois, as seen in AWADmail Issue 829.)
LIVE LARGE – TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
Enjoy a generous amount of the money you conserved over a lifetime. Do not forgo joys, adventures, the satisfactions of supporting favorite causes or other pleasures you desired but denied yourself in earlier times being frugal and responsible. You have sacrificed long enough. You’ve earned your modest fortune. Live it up. Beware televangelists, insurance and other salespeople who want your support for their good times.
Give risky new investments a pass, even or particularly if they are presented as fool-proof sure things. This is your time to live fully, to enjoy what you have long sought. Go ahead and bask in a bit of peace and quiet or, if you prefer, indulge in a few wild and crazy delights. Perhaps a combination of these options will appeal.
Consider but not be overly constrained about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren – or their future children and grandchildren. Eschew guilt about spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of loved ones for many years and, in doing so, have provided them with a fine head start. At last, your turn has arrived. You have nurtured, educated, fed and sheltered and offered emotional support. It’s time to enjoy your savings – you sacrificed enough already.
Wouldn’t it be odd and a bit mental if each generation scrimped and saved, went for their children even when adults, who then kept the cycle going ad infinitum, generation after generation? Nobody, ever, would live it up or spend freely, since all would be driven to save for their brood, who would with no end to it. Quite irrational.
DON’T DWELL ON SMALL STUFF – AND REALIZE MOST OF IT IS SMALL STUFF
Your goal should transcend being a survivor – that’s nice and rather essential but strive for a higher standard – set your sights on being a flourisher. You have already overcome so much. Your brain is filled with good memories – and others best not to dwell upon. The important thing is the present. Don’t let any chapter from the past be a weight on your mind or a drag on your optimism.
Adopt that philosophy and the small stuff will soon diminish into the proverbial ash heap of your history. Again citing Ingersoll, consider this: The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here and the way to be happy is to make others so.
KEEP LOVE ALIVE AS LONG AS YOU ARE
When you outline many of those you love – parents, a spouse, best friends and dear companions, it’s more important than ever to keep love alive. You do not fail to honor the deceased by pursuing new relationships and allowing affections to grow with others.
Companionships of varied kinds complement the fond memories of those who’ve passed. There are good people out there you haven’t met yet. It’s helpful to complement your love of life with others who share that feeling. No one, at any age, is finished with living well as long as he or she has valued connections and a conscious desire to make the most of time remaining.
WITHOUT OVERDOING IT, DRESS FOR SUCCESS – AT LIVING WELL
Pay attention to and seek out a few opinions about fashion trends, not necessarily age appropriate, but somewhat in line with your own sense of style. You’ve developed plenty of ideas about what looks good on you over the years. Keep this fashion sense in mind and be proud of it – it’s part of who you are. But, don’t be shy about getting regular fashion upgrades – there are dances and concerts and such to attend and you always want to catch the eye of folks who might be out there looking for a hot dude or a stunning gal with advanced life experience.
DON’T HANG OUT EXCLUSIVELY WITH OLD PEOPLE
This is not as outrageously ageist as it might first appear. I favor generation-mixing, that is, ample contact socially and otherwise between young and old, and in-betweens. All parties benefit from the different perspectives modern life impresses upon people who have or are just now having common experiences (e.g., high school and college, entry into the job market, marriage) but in markedly different eras. Consider how very different life was for the eighteen participants featured in this book in the 1940’s, 50s and 60s from the cultural and other norms extant today. Countless forces, some easily recognized but most not even consciously assessed, shape the lives of generations at least twice removed from each other. It’s only natural that all parties will have formed varied impressions about almost everything, given the evolution of society from the mid-20th century to the present time. With open minds, curiosity and good listening skills, old and young will have much to share and talk about and, hopefully, entertain each other.
Inspired perhaps by free-spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon) in the classic movie Harold and Maude, I think elder women ought to consider taking a male youth under their wings in a mentor (femtor) capacity. It won’t work as well in reverse, due to unfortunate suspicions likely to arise. Besides, young men are in greater need of sensible guidance than their female counterparts.
STAY INFORMED AND INVOLVED
No matter your age – you are still part of society, your community in particular and a leader of your clan. You have a lifetime of accumulated experience and the wisdom that comes with making decisions not driven by testosterone or immaturity. Enrich your stored insights and decision skills with continuing education – stay current on events, world affairs, local and social controversies and other matters that affect your quality of life, the subjects you care about, your freedoms and your passions. If you have the heart for it, make a scene – show up at town council meetings, write or call your politicians, vote and engage in discussions about public policies, the arts and the dynamics of contemporary life. Don’t be shy about telling stories, creatively embellished, if necessary, to hold audience attention, Most young people have few clues about life half a dozen or more decades ago – dazzle these youngins with tales tall and otherwise about the dramas of your heyday.
WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
Be alert to old people stereotypes – try not to appear cranky, closed-minded, set in your ways, dismissive, cantankerous or forgetful. Well, maybe being forgetful can’t he helped. In any case, be wary of expectations some harbor about senior citizens. While it must be admitted that a few seniors are annoying so, too, are many young and middle age folks. Boorish and off-putting behaviors are observed in all age groups. A good way to win friends and influence people during your senior years is to do the unexpected, such as listening to the opinions of others – and showing respect for all voices.
This strategy can be effective under trying circumstances, such as described in the first stanza of the Monty Python Galaxy song: Whenever things get you down … and things seem hard or tough, and people are stupid, obnoxious or daft and you feel that you’ve had quite enough…think about the bigger picture. You know – how the planet, galaxy and universe are evolving, revolving, orbiting, moving, going round and expanding at speeds over distances that seem hard to imagine. This will help you lighten up – your birth was amazing and unlikely in the first place, so make the best of being along for the ride around our sun at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned.
You don’t have to agree with someone to have a dialogue, or to show that you appreciate him or her and are tolerant of views at odds with your own. Of course there are exceptions, but my co-author has forbidden me to go off on a tangent about our presidential situation.
DON’T USE OLD FOGGIE PHRASES OR TELL STORIES ABOUT THE GOOD OLD DAYS
It’s one thing to tell and embellish stories about your youth and how things were long ago when you were in your prime, but be conscious of overusing phrases such as, when I was your age, in my day or, well, let me tell you something about how great/awful things were when I was a kid.
One really good reason not to use the phrase, In my time is because this IS your time. It’s now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of the present, not the past. You were indeed much younger back then, but you are a new and improved version of that earlier model, except perhaps physically.
Today you are the culmination of all that you were, a living, breathing repository of experience, making an impact, having fun and enjoying life.
SEEK OUT CHEERFUL, KIND PEOPLE; AVOID THE OTHER KIND
As you well know, some people are cheerful, positive and fun; others are a great pain in the derrière. Seek out the former and eschew the latter. There is not enough time left to squander any of it with those who are vexatious, tiresome, boring or mean. And let’s face it – there are plenty of older people who, often for pretty good reasons, have slid into a bitter and surly fix. If that’s you, liberate yourself from grumptitude; resolve to be a charmer, like my co-author Jack Welber.
Life is too short to waste even a day on bitterness or regret. A sure-fire way to shift to charming is to associate with positive, interesting people. With no special effort, their charms will provoke positively in all around them, even you. Henceforth your days will seem much better. Associating with vexatious people, on the other hand, will accelerate your aging and make you constipated and harder to be around.
ENJOY THE GRANDCHILDREN BUT DON’T LIVE WITH OR SUPERVISE THEM
If finances, family stability and other factors do not require a rescue intervention by caring and able grandparents like you, back off and give your children ample space to parent their clan. Provide grown children with the opportunity to raise their little darlins with the loving skill and nurturing you afforded them when they were in your care during their formative years. Treat your occasional visits as guest appearances and depart with the tots wanting more – they should be overjoyed when you show up because you’re fun, non-bossy, interesting and a change of pace – so long as they act sensibly and appropriately, even for little people.
It’s true that being surrounded by family on occasions can be delightful, but the adults need privacy, as do your children and grandchildren. If you find yourself alone late in life, explore options other than moving in with family. Favor housing situations that bring potential new friends – that’s the way to go, if possible.
INDULGE YOUR HOBBY AND, IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE, SHOP AROUND AND EXPERIMENT WITH POSSIBILITIES
The word hobby may be the wrong term for what’s being recommended. You wouldn’t call your profession a hobby. If you’re a champion athlete, you don’t call your sport a hobby. The same applies to other skills and forms of artistic endeavor or activities that define your vital commitments. But whatever you call activities that enable expression of your talents, passions and heartfelt desired ways to spend time should be enjoyed guiltlessly, frequently and thoroughly. Not everyone has such go to delights, particularly in the later years; if you are among those missing out, sniff around for possibilities. In time, you’ll find one of more endeavors, sports, or activities which bring pleasures and satisfactions.
No need to be in a hurry – just look around with an open mind. Popular hobbies include cooking, building something, dancing, studying an esoteric or other subject, writing a book, making a movie, cultivating a garden, becoming a card shark or magician, saving animals and so on ad infinitum. With a passion of some kind, you’ll seldom be bored. When things seem dull or unpleasant, you can turn to your acquired skill and become unbored!
BE OPEN TO BRAZEN OVERTURES
When you no longer have a full head of drop-dead gorgeous hair and your back hurts and you feel tired and grumpy and you just want to be left alone to watch reruns of I Love Lucy or Gunsmoke, give a little gregariousness a try. Crash a party and become the life of it, or better yet, get yourself invited to a few. Accept opportunities to go places, even if the destinations are not of interest at first, like museums, concerts, plays, dances, bingo parties – any function that will get you out, mingling with others, enjoying a little company at varied events that might prove entertaining. Favor celebratory occasions, like graduations, award ceremonies, birthdays, weddings and conferences. Funerals are ok, now and then, but don’t attend too many. You might find yourself obsessing about death or quoting Woody Allen: It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
BE MORE OF A SKILLED INTERVIEWER THAN A GASBAG JABBERER
Tune up your conversational skills or, if you haven’t any, familiarize yourself with the fundamentals. Basically, all you need to know is a five-word guide to effective conversations. Talk less and listen more.
You probably know people who barely give others a chance to get a word in and, when they do, interrupt before the other can finish. Can you think of talk show hosts who are like that? Here’s a hint: Chris Matthews. I enjoy his guests, but the moderator is insufferable. He often asks a question, then answers it. Sometimes, Matthews will give panel members a few moments to comment, but they rarely get to finish before he interrupts.
So, another way to suggest that you become a skilled conversationalist is watch Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC – and resolve not to be like Chris Matthews.
BE AS MUCH OF A STOIC AS YOU CAN MANAGE
A stoic is a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing feelings, complaining or, in a more modern context, at least not moaning and groaning, incessantly. Zeno of Citium founded this Hellenistic philosophy in Athens during the early 3rd century BC. It flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. To last that long, there had to be something to it, a functional advantage.
Of course, as with other worthy disciplines, stoicism about pain and discomfort does not come naturally or without earnest efforts. All manner of dysfunctions are part and parcel of getting older.This tip is not meant to recommend denial of pain and suffering, but rather is offered as a suggestion to minimize attention to such tribulations. This is best for the sufferer, as well as those suffering the sufferer.
Alas, diminution of vitality is part of the cycle of life. To the extent possible, don’t allow discomfort to be the focus of your being – seek out distractions. Admittedly, such advice is easy to give, but grief and suffering are next to impossible to endure, as witness our current opioid crisis. Nonetheless, as stoically as possible, try to view pain as something nearly all mortals experience and, despite it all, remain as you have have been throughout life – tough, resilient, capable and positive.
PERFORM A GOOD-HUMORED SECULAR EXORCISM ON ALL MISCREANTS AND EVIL-DOERS, DRIVING THEM FROM YOUR MIND FOR PURPOSES OF SERENITY AND PEACE
You really can’t live a long life without encountering vexatious, dishonest, mean-spirited and otherwise villainous and even nefarious individuals. A few people over the years have no doubt wronged you – and they deserve retribution, condemnation, a tongue-lashing or, in some cases, long prison sentences. But, such sweet comeuppances Hollywood-style are unlikely, expensive, time-consuming and, more often than not, unsuccessful.
So why carry around the anger, resentment, stress or feelings of hostility? Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die.
Let it all go – time is of the essence and life is always too short to be mad most or all of the time. Create a ceremony of some kind and have fun with the cleansing of your soul, mind or heart. Maybe in an environmentally-friendly way, put the names of all malefactors in a tiny pile and set it ablaze. Or, if you have enough enemies, make a giant bonfire and set it ablaze. Play some music and do a dance, make a toast and give a speech. While irreverent about the ritual, know that the act has a meaningful purpose – it’s to rid your awareness of those you would have preferred, in hindsight, had never made it there.
If all that seems like too much trouble, then go with Oscar Wilde’s advice: Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.
FAITH OR REASON, SUPERSTITION OR SCIENCE – CHOOSE YOUR PREFERENCE AND GIVE EVERYONE ELSE THE SAME OPPORTUNITY
Be an evangelist for liberty, for choice and for freedom, while granting others rights, beliefs and preferences you favor yourself. If you believe strongly in X, consider leaving true believers in Y in peace. Perhaps in earlier times, you found meaning in advancing viewpoints about life’s persistent questions, but you might want to move on if doing so at this stage in life proves vexatious or otherwise unsatisfying, not to mention futile, as before. (This I consider good advice for many, though I don’t have much use for it personally as a devout freethinker.)
Of course if you’re asked what you think, don’t hesitate to lavish interested parties with the details of your amazing insights on any topic, particularly religion, politics and sex, not necessarily in that order. But only if asked or otherwise invited.
This matters as much as ever, probably more so, in the later years, when every opportunity should be seized to make room for little other than unfettered positive thinking and good vibrations.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR MEDICAL MIRACLES
Resist the medicalization of your senior years. Excessive prescriptions, over-testing, unnecessary and dangerous treatments are the norm for seniors, whether athletic or not. The pressure to medicate and look to doctors comes not only from physicians and other medical personnel but also from family, friends and associates. It’s not a plot, but rather a culture out of sync and in denial about the realities of decline at the end of the life cycle. There is no cure, no fix or treatment for the wear and tear, and ultimate obsolescence of body parts and eventual death.
ASSUME MEDICAL TREATMENT CENTER ADS ARE UNRELIABLE, MISLEADING AND/OR DECEPTIVE
As noted in several exposés in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal (Steve Salerno, In the War on Cancer, Truth Becomes a Casualty, WSJ April 21, 2018, p. A13), the multibillion treatment industry appeals to emotion in advertising for customers. Hyperbole is said to come without asterisks or even cleverly parsed disclaimers. An MD Anderson Cancer Center ad proclaims: Come to us and you will beat cancer. Such ads are part of a high stakes competition for billings projected to reach $207 billion by 2020. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014 noted that cancer advertising direct to potential customers, often with celebrity pitchmen, rely on emotional appeals. Such ads evoke hope or fear while promoting expensive treatments, not screenings. The risks of treatments are mentioned in less than two percent of such ads. The cancer industry, in short, is widely accused of exploiting false hope.
Be aware that there is no condition that medical personnel, if encouraged to find a cure at all costs, can’t introduce for one additional Hail Mary fix, however improbable. Even the most seemingly hopeless situation can usually be viewed as possibly responsive to some untested remedy, an experimental treatment, an alternative/complementary/or unconventional approach, that someone, somewhere has been developing with promising results.
Be skeptical. Don’t be easily fooled or lured to irrational choices inspired more by false hopes than reason or evidence.
LAUGHTER, HUMOR, JOY AND HAPPINESS
Social scientists can’t seem to say enough in favor of the health benefits of laughter as good medicine and a common feature of wellbeing. Almost all studies of long-lived people highlight ample laughter as a characteristic of successful aging. Laughter is beneficial even if the source of merriment is not objectively or understandably amusing. Someone who laughs incessantly, including at times when nothing seems funny to anyone else, will soon prove unnerving. However, if nobody’s listening, go ahead and yuck it up at every opportunity. It will do no harm and, if the scientists and best-selling humor book authors are not having us on, will probably do you some good. Around others, it’s best if at least a few get the joke.
Happiness is closely related to but different from laughter. The latter is a sensation; happiness is a feeling, somewhat longer lasting than a hearty chuckle. Aristotle posited two forms of happiness: hedonia, based on pleasure, and eudaimonia, based on virtue and clean living. Likewise, there are two distinct kind of laughter – good natured and victimless (basically eudaimonia) and all the rest, as favored by stand up comedians (basically hedonic). Both are heartily recommended.
ALL TIPS ARE EQUAL BUT ONE IS MORE EQUAL – EXERCISE IS THE BEST ANTI-AGING REMEDY THERE IS AND IT’S FREE FOR THE TAKING
Aging is inexorable and everyone knows that, but few appreciate fully what to do about it. Now more than ever, it’s critical to look after yourself so aging does not overwhelm you sooner than later.
Bodies respond to the passage of time and the effects of gravity and devolution very differently, depending in good measure on lifestyle and environmental conditions.
Any guess what percentage of middle-aged and older adults in the Western world exercise at even a minimal level? For those over 65, the answer is ten percent! One recent study of the older men and women in the latter group showed they enjoyed better reflexes, memories, balance and metabolic profiles. How much better? Hold your hat – their well being levels were closer to 30-year-olds than their sedentary peers. (Ross D. Pollock, et. al., An investigation Into the Relationship Between Age and Physiological Function In Highly Active Older Adults, The Journal of Physiology, January, 2015.)
A follow-up study focused on muscles and T cells, which are key infection-fighting components of the immune system. This curiosity led to further support for the potent value of nature’s greatest drug – regular exercise. The 75+ exercisers were healthier and biologically much younger. Biological age is vastly more consequential than chronological age and, unlike the latter, is modifiable with human initiative.
The tip in this case is self-evident – get moving. Be athletic, even if you never compete. Recognize that some exercise is better than none, and more is better than less.
Summing up, be a lifestyle artist, a model of wise living. You can do this without great physical effort but at least moderate exercise, such as daily walks, is a prerequisite. Eat well and get plenty of sleep. Nearly everyone knows what’s entailed in practicing these elementary good health habits – the trick is doing it.
- Exercising my brain by seeking/applying knowledge.
- Exercising by body with workouts and competitions.
- Adhering to a reasonable diet.
- Abstaining from tobacco.
- Limiting alcohol consumption.
- Good mental health which has given me the confidence to believe in myself and believe I could do anything if I put the time and effort in.
- Good physical health – I start with good genes – I was lucky in that respect but I have also paid attention to my health and fitness. I’ve always been athletic – the many hours I’ve spent exercising and training have paid untold dividends.
- Good education – This made me intellectually curious about the world and imparted a desire to continue learning.
- Good support from family and friends – I would not be doing triathlons without the support of my husband – he does everything from repairing my bike to repairing my psyche. My two sisters are also an essential part of my support team. Not to be overlooked – my children and grandchildren cheer me on. A five-year old grandson was recently overheard telling friends, My grandma is the world champion of the world. A balancing act between family, working and training has been difficult but getting it right most of the time keeps life on track. Supportive friends, colleagues and fellow competitors are yet another component for remaining active and vital.
- Good coaching – I’ve had two great coaches who made a big difference in my life. Hobie Billingsley at Indiana University (1960 to 1963) and Sharone Aharon, Elite Level 3 triathlon coach and owner of Well-Fit Training Center (2006 to the present). They both guided me in learning the skills I needed and the confidence required to succeed. I would not be able to continue as a competitive athlete without Sharone. He writes a daily workout regimen for me, analyzes the results I upload to him on Training Peaks and writes the next weeks workout based on that analysis.
No surprises here.
- Health care
- A positive attitude
I realize the science suggests otherwise, but my experience tempts me to think that genetics is overrated as a player in how long we last. Both my parents had heart problems, as did my sister, my only sibling. When I was 45 my mother, after many years of poor health, died of cancer. My father died of a heart attack at the age of 66, and my sister at age 31. At the age of 45, I found myself the only surviving family member. Now I’m on the cusp of becoming 80, an octogenarian! How have I lasted so long, given my genetics?
I think a positive attitude, an element of sound mental health, is the key factor that contributes to longevity. There will always be bumps and roadblocks along the way, but mentally healthy people learn from adversities. We can all work to develop positive attitudes when we appreciate the importance of this quality and thereby adopt I can do it
In addition, exercise is essential – keep the body moving into and during old age.
Receiving love and support from family and friends and giving love and support to all in need also play important roles in longevity.
Finally learning and being open to new ideas and new experiences will be helpful in factors for longer life with higher quality.
- Choice of parents.
- Sense sufficient not to smoke – ever while avoiding smoke-filled rooms and smokers.
- Discover and retention of a soulmate – and pet (s).
- Daily exercise – usually a hard followed by an easy day, or vice-versa!
- Cross-training. (The tri triumvirate plus weekly Pilates class.)
- Supplement training – especially house and yard work!
- Sensible dining. (I lean vegetarian, with red meat in moderation as well as fish, eggs and yogurt. I also favor one big meal while grazing on fruit, nuts and seeds throughout the day. Popcorn is a frequent evening treat.)
- Avoidance of processed foods – and vigilance about ingredients whose names I can’t pronounce.
- Moderate alcohol consumption. (One glass of red wine or beer a day.)
- Control over sugar products. (Maybe a chocolate bar every other day.)
- Staying active
- Medical numbers (BMI, cholesterol, pulse, blood pressure, regular checkups)
- Balance & weight distribution
- Prevention (e.g., sun protection – we must take care of our skin)
- Genetics – I have a great family history.
- Desire to be healthy – Some come by good health more easily than others. Regardless, live right, eat right, do everything in moderation except train – do a bit of extra to get that edge that helps you stand out.
- Competitive spirit – It’s what makes winners.
- Listen to your body – I have the advantage of a medical background, but anyone can read and learn about the body and what science has found leads to good health. Pay attention – demonstrated facts will make a difference.
- Cross training – Those of us who can’t dominate in any one endeavor can benefit from this balanced approach. It really works.
At 78, I guess I’ve achieved longevity. Certainly genes are important and of course I would have to add that mega-miles of training have surely contributed.. I don’t smoke or drink, so that is probably good, too. On the other hand, I eat and drink anything I like, including diet Coke and potato chips.
A strong desire to be healthy, a strong desire to avoid the disabilities of chronic disease. A desire to be successfully competitive in physical activities.
- Good genes. I can’t take credit for them but I can take advantage of then.
- Faith in a higher power. I’m in awe of the world around me and amazed at what one can accomplish.
- Companionship. Being social and having love in your life. Being loved and loving others.
- Staying physically and mentally active. You never outgrow your need for learning and trying new things.
- Good nutrition. Making wise choices about fuel for your body.
Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics always resonated with me; that brilliant insight, in my opinion, holds the key that can motivate increased human longevity. If you don’t look after your body, it will degrade, often at an alarmingly fast pace. Of course, if you do take care of your body while cultivating your mind, things will eventually go south (as Newton pointed out everything does), but slowing the rate of such is still worthwhile.
Much has been written about all the things we should be doing to positively influence the aging curve. Bottom line; choose your strategy, develop a plan and stick to it. Competing in Triathlons isn’t a bad start! Going to a vegan diet at least some of the time will open ones eyes to alternative eating habits.
- True grit
- Payback to being honored with life
- Endorphin kicks
4 Answering the call to explore my capacities
- Thrill of being the reigning ITU World Age Group Olympic Champion the past three years despite being a mediocre athlete