Living Longer – What’s The Plan?
Living longer is one thing, but what might those extra years be like? Is it possible to live a longer, and happier life?
If, as I hope, I live more than ninety or a hundred years, I wonder what my quality of life will be like then. Will my body hold up and allow me to get out and do things, or will I be confined to a bed? More importantly, will my mind hold up and allow me to still be me, or will I forget everything about my life?
While studying longevity, I have found what I believe are five things I can do to live a longer and happier life. One without the other just won’t cut it.
#1 Activity – Get Moving!
This may be the most obvious thing we can do to extend our lives. An article on the sciencecodex.com website cites a study in the Journal of Psychology that states how exercise may be the key to increasing the chances of optimal aging.
Researchers recruited active, fit people aged 55 to 79 and tested them on cardiovascular, respiratory, strength, and other health measures. Remarkably, the majority of the test subjects scored the same as healthy young adults on basic tests of movement and balance.
The study also concluded that being sedentary posed a serious risk. Of course, this is just one study among many confirming what we already know. We simply feel better when we are active.
#2 Food – Eat The Right Things (again, nothing new)
Just as we know that staying active is good for us, we instinctively know we should eat healthy foods. I believe there are two issues related to nutrition.
First, for me, is the matter of will power. I have a sweet tooth. Just today, someone brought a banana cheesecake to work, and I did enjoy a slice! I do think our modern society makes it difficult to avoid sweets and other unhealthy snacks. Companies aggressively market these products, and you can find them in virtually every store. Resisting this temptation is a part of the battle.
The second major problem I see with nutrition, is that there are so many ideas on the right ways to diet, cut calories, lower cholesterol, etc. that it is impossible to decipher what the right foods actually are. Are there any specific diet plans that can lead to a longer, and happier life, or is it a case of generally eating healthily, and avoiding bad foods?
Instead of focusing on a new idea, I decided to learn about communities where people have a history of eating healthy and living longer. An article on the 4 cities where people live the longest describes how many people on the island of Ikaria in Greece live 90 or more years, and that they mostly eat foods they grow such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and olive oil; suggesting that organic foods may play a part in a longer life.
The article also mentions how the people on Ikaria live relatively stress-free live and spend much of their days socializing with friends; which brings me to my next stop on the road to longevity.
#3 Spend Time With Friends
The same article also mentions how people living long, healthy lives are similar, in that they have very close ties with family and friends in their respective communities.
This seems to fit well with the idea of getting out and being active. It also seems to be a common sense fact that this will help us to enjoy our lives. Perhaps too, there is something about community in itself that promotes a longer and happier life.
#4 Stay Curious – Maintain An Active Mind
Many people say they look forward to retirement, the earlier the better, but I am not so sure this is helpful if we want to live into our nineties. In an article on the medicalnewstoday.com website titled “Having a sense of purpose in life may increase lifespan”, lead study author Patrick Hill states that “Overall, individuals who reported having a greater purpose in life had a lower mortality risk.”
I believe this sense of purpose can be just about anything. We can go back to school, volunteer, be active in a church, do any number of things – all of which are meaningful and have the potential to engage our minds long after we leave the office. The trick is to remain curious, and to keep learning.
#5 Let Science Do Its Thing
I’m not looking for a magic pill or a fountain of youth, but I am looking forward to what science can do for us in the coming decades.
I believe that everything else I have covered here gives me the best chance to reach well into my nineties and beyond, but I cannot deny that I may one day face a dangerous illness.
Several of my close family members are cancer victims, so I have high hopes that scientists will find solutions. An article titled “Can DNA Nanobots Successfully Treat Cancer Patients? First Human Trial Soon” gives me hope about what might be possible. It describes a future scenario when someone will go for an annual checkup and receive an injection of nanobots, which will then screen the body for any type of cancer and eliminate it, maybe even before it is detectable. This sounds amazing to me, and is just one example of what the future might hold.
The Goal – To Live A Longer, Happier Life
So that’s my plan to live a longer, happier life: activity, nutrition, friends, curiosity, and science.
The good thing is that these are items contain a great deal of common sense. Taken together, I believe they give us best chance to live well and much longer. Of course, we must try to balance these in our lives, and, if you are like me, some may be more difficult than others. That cheesecake really was good!