Monday, November 16, 2009

Living a Long and Healthy Life

Not every one wants to live to the ripe old age of 100. To tell you the truth, I’d only want to live that long if I could still be healthy and productive. In the October, 2009 monthly issue of U.S. News & World Report, Deborah Kotz’ article "10 Tips for Living to 100" in the Health & Lifestyle section, sums up how living to be a centenarian is indeed attainable.

Centenarians tend to share certain traits in how they conduct their lives. How do they do it? Following are 10 tips that make sense. The tips themselves are quotes from the article, the explanations are para-phrased or are my own words.

1. Don’t retire. We’ve all heard about it–someone retires and before you know it, he’s gone. Stay active after you retire from your regular job. Become a volunteer, actively garden, be involved in your community.

2. Floss every day. What? How did that sneak in there? Well, it’s true, according to a 2008 New York University study that showed that flossing every day reduces gum disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. That bacteria is believed to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflamation of the arteries, a risk factor for heart disease.

3. Move around. Studies have shown that exercise improves every aspect of your life, your muscles, bones, mental clarity, your outlook on life. Even 30 minutes a day makes a significant difference.

4. Eat fiber-rich cereal for breakfast. Eating whole-grains first thing in the morning helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, thereby reducing the chances of diabetes.

5. Get at least six hours of shut-eye. Sleep is imperative to regulating and healing cells.
Centenarians consider sleep a top priority.

6. Consume whole foods, not supplements. Eat the real thing, not pills or capsules. Go for dark whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables and avoid over-processed foods, such as white flour and prepared meals.

7. Be less neurotic. Try not to internalize worries or stress, or dwell on your troubles. Go with the flow.

8. Be a creature of habit. Try to maintain a routine, get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time, eat the same kind of diet and maintain regular exercise. It’s a good way to avoid weakening your immune system.

9. Live like a Seventh-Day Adventist. Members of this denomination have a higher life expectancy than the average American. Adventists treat their body with respect which means no smoking, alcohol, or overindulging in sweets, sticking to a vegetarian diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. Plus, they focus on family and community. We can use their example in our own lives, possibly not all aspects of their regimen, but use this lifestyle as a model.

10. Stay connected. Regular contact with family and friends is key to avoiding depression, which often leads to premature death. Being involved helps us stay alert. Regular involvement also encourages people to observe you and to make helpful suggestions, such as suggesting you see a doctor.

I think these are good tips to live by, even if we don't make it to 100.


Julie said...

Good post, Mary. Most of us have heard of most of these, I suspect, and probably many of us try to live by them. I hadn't heard of the one about flossing, and it makes a lot of sense. Fortunately, I already do that. Maybe the most important, though, and one we have no control over is "Have healthy (or long-lived) parents." I agree exercise is key, too. I used to think what one wants in one's older years is a one level house, but that may be "old" thinking. Stairs give one exercise daily. Thanks for the list! I'm passing it along by sending out your blogspot to friends.

Anonymous said...

Good advice, one of those "shoulds" we all think about. And you know what happes with "good intentions." grin

Alice Trego said...

I loved reading each tip, Mary, see if I adhere to them. For the most part, I follow each one, except getting six hours of sleep, consuming whole foods, and being a creature of habit. I figure I make up for these in other ways :)