Let’s assume you have sidestepped genes for truly fatal diseases, there is nothing stopping you from living independently well into your 90s and to 100, provided you take the necessary steps to do so. Here are five of the top ten tips on a course to longevity.
First Tip – Don’t “retire”
Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement. The Chianti region of Italy, which has a high percentage of centenarians, has a different take on leisure time. After people retire from their formal jobs, they spend most of the day working on their little farm, cultivating grapes or vegetables. They are never really inactive. Farming isn’t for you? Try volunteer work, running for the school board or starting your own small business in your field of expertise.
Second tip – Floss everyday
Flossing may help keep your arteries healthy. A 2008 New York University study showed that daily flossing reduced the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Apparently the bacteria in the mouth could enter the blood stream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease. Other research has shown that those who have high amounts of bacteria in their mouth are more likely to have thickening in their arteries, another sign of heart disease.
Third tip – Move around
Exercise is the only real fountain of youth. Study after study has documented the benefits of exercise to improve your mood, mental activity, balance, muscle mass, and bones. And the benefits kick in immediately after your first workout. Those who see the biggest payoffs are the ones who go from doing nothing to simply walking around the neighborhood or local mall for about 30 minutes a day. Building muscles with resistance training is ideal, but Yoga and Pilates classes can also give you similar benefits, if you are not into weight training.
Fourth tip – Wash your hands
Washing your hands frequently using soap or an antiseptic solution is one of the most important measures you can take to protect yourself against infection by bacteria and viruses. Use hot water and rub hands vigorously, paying attention to the tips of the fingers, thumbs and areas between the fingers. The hands should be thorough rinsed, preferably under running water. If running water is not available, water can be poured from a container over the hands, or the hands can be rinsed in a bowl of water. This water has to be clean and should be changed after every use.
Fifth tip – Get at least six hours of sleep
Instead of skimping on sleep to add more hours to your day, get more sleep to add years to your life. Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells. Estimates are that the minimum amount of sleep that older people need to get the healing benefits is about six hours. Those who reach the century mark make sleep a top priority.
This is an extract from the book: Sage Vita: The Art of Living Longer and Living Well