Tag Archives: longevity

EXERCISE TYPE and LONGEVITY

We know from various studies that you can actually increase your longevity with exercise. But, which ones are the most beneficial? A study(1) divided 2613 Finnish athletes into three groups: 1. ENDURANCE ATHLETES (runners, cyclers) 2. POWER ATHLETES (boxers, weights) and 3. TEAM SPORTS (soccer, basketball, hockey). The results, when compared to Finnish non-athletes are that 1. Power athletes live 1.6 yrs. longer. 2. Team sports produced 4.0 extra years and 3. Endurance sports resulted in 5.7 extra years of life.

The key here is V02 max or the maximum amount of oxygen needed for exercise.  Activities that require you to breath the hardest are the best. Jogging has other advantages in that it’s the best calorie burner per minute of exercise. It will strengthen you knees and bones. It improves brain function including memory. This and most exercises improves mood and helps prevent depression.

You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from aerobic exercise even as we age. Most seniors I know become involved with distance walking, cycling or aerobic classes. We lose muscle mass as we age, so I believe that some weights should be involved in your routine for a balanced workout. If you are running, the baseline for benefits are 30 minutes 3 times a week. If you’re walking for your exercise, then it is 30 minutes 5 times a week.

(1) Serna, S. et al. “Increased Life Expectancy of World Class Male Athletes” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Vol 25, #2. Feb 1993.

LIFE EXTENSION and DIET

When we talk about life extension, we mean extending your natural biological life to its maximum. We can influence this outcome by the number of healthy behaviors we choose to adapt. Most of us are motivated to improve our quality of life and increase our longevity. We just want these changes to be easy and to flow with our lifestyle.

Life Extension Magazine and Foundation is a good place to start. Its focus is on health research and dietary supplements designed to augment health and long living. In their April 2015 issue(1), they summarize a study reported in the British Medical Journal(2), “Mediterranean Diet Associated With Longer Telomeres.” Telomeres are the caps at the end of your chromosomes that are correlated with the cell’s age and your age as well. If you’re not yet familiar with the Mediterranean Diet, see ‪http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/mediterranean-diet/‬.

The British study began in 1976 with 4,676 middle aged subjects that relied on continual blood samples for measurement. The findings not only showed that this diet can increase your telomeres, but “the strongest association was observed among women.” Although, it is not disclosed why women benefit more, this diet should be a key ingredient of any women’s healthy lifestyle.

The magazine opens with a commentary by Dr. William Faloon who highlights the current health issue of the month. I love his passionate, honest and forthright approach especially as he takes on the FDA for dragging its feet on approving new medications. He is clearly an outspoken advocate for the health and rights of the average person.

General studies on longevity are evaluated as are studies that target specific conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer or aging skin. I have subscribed to the magazine for many years because I appreciate their scientific approach and their ultimate goal of life extension. As a result, recommendations made after a convincing study have caused me to improve my diet or change my behavior.

In conclusion, the easiest way to get started on your life extension is to read good studies. As you evaluate each study for yourself, you can apply what makes the most sense to you. What higher level of excitement is there than to have the ability and control to extend your own life.        L. Johnson.                                                     More: www.creativeretirementforwomen.com
(1) Life Extension Magazine, April 2015 issue, p19.
(2) BMJ.2014;349;g6674
Disclosure: I do not work for or receive any compensation from Life Extension.

How to Live Longer

This one eye popping chart is worth a thousands insights and might just change your social attitude. How to live longer involves so many complex variables that it makes us thirsty for simplicity. I am a big believer in the value of social networks for their support and sustainability in all stages of life. If your are single in retirement, I have mentioned that a solid social network of reliable and caring people can give you quality of life and happiness in your final years, even without a romantic relationship.

But, I also mention that having a partner in later life is vitally important since it often becomes our primary social and emotional support. Partnership stimulates our life involvement and longevity. So, can we have it both ways? Let’s take a look at the chart above.

If the colors are hard to see in the chart(1), the first bar is women, second is men, and the third is one person in a couple.  It’s clear that longevity follows a pattern. Single men go first, then single women, while being a couple is the best longevity. Does this mean we should rush out and get involved even if we are comfortable being single? Not necessarily, because what this chart does not tell us is that the quality of any relationship is the key.

The depth of emotional involvement in your relationship tends to determine your benefit. So, if you already have a supportive network of involved friends, you don’t want to change that. Likewise, if you have a supportive romantic relationship, of course, you don’t want to change that. But, what the chart does not tell us is how many of the couples had both. I believe it’s this combined effect of both your network and a romantic relationship that is the greatest longevity benefit. So, what can we do to live longer:

1.  Maintain a supportive and caring social network of friends
2.  Keep positive relationships with family as much as possible
3.  Be open to a romantic relationship if you are single
4.  Expand your network if you are a couple
5.  Always make your health a top priority

We know this is not the only way to increase your longevity, but the chart convinces us of its importance. Future studies will help us prioritize those factors that are most important for extending life. But, in the end, it’s no surprise that people live for other people.             L.J.

(1)Eric McWhinnie, (3-15-2015) Reatirement Reality: 7 ChartsYou Need to see. Retrieved on 3-20-2015 from: http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/retirement-reality-5-charts-you-need-to-see.html/2/(originally from J.P. Morgan)

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet

In our attempt to find the best diet for health and longevity, the research behind the Mediterranean diet certainly seems to put it in that category. If you eat the Mediterranean diet, studies show that your will not only have longer life expectancy, but will reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension. So, your quality of life can improve as well. This is primarily due to the use of olive oil in place of other saturated fats like butter.

I recently discovered a recipe oriented book with a ton of ideas and even a daily meal planner.  There are a few different variations of the diet and this one allows meat and desserts. It all has to be cooked in a clean and healthy manner, of course.  But, I honestly believe we can enjoy this type of diet and not feel deprived while improving our health.

The book is The Mediterranean Prescription by A. Acquista, M.D. and his first point is to know the difference between the different types of fats.  The goal is to consume unsaturated fat as in olive oil and plant based foods while reducing trans and saturated fats.  Don’t worry, it’s all spelled out on the package labels and recipes in his book. Many people are staying away from wheat or starch these days, but there are good and bad starches too. Organic whole grain bread, for example, is one of the most healthy foods available. It’s prudent to avoid the white starches in bread, pasta, and rice and just replace them with the whole grain versions. Some studies even correlate how much whole grain products you eat to how long you will live.

In case you are new to the Mediterranean diet, Dr. Acquista lists the 12 guiding principles:

1. Eat lots of fruits.                2. Eat lots of vegetables.            3. Eat lots of legumes

4. Eat nuts and seeds         5. Eat whole grains            6. Use olive oil on salads and cooking

7. Eat low-fat dairy products in moderation       8. Eat fish     9. Eat the right fats (have a high

ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats)    10.  Regular physical activity 

11. Drink Wine(red)        12.  Very small portions of other meats.

Most studies say that one daily glass of wine is most beneficial for women and two for men. There are a few variations of this diet and some allow small amounts of red meat. In terms of pork and red meat, I find it easier to just eliminate them altogether. I’m avoiding the saturated fat and the cholesterol because I have a history of strokes in my family.       L.J

More at:     www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Acquista, A. M.D., The Mediterranean Prescription, New York: Ballantine Books, 2006, p.17.      Chart: hellthhylifestylelive. com