How to Live Longer Part I

by Stephen Mills on July 18, 2009

I’ve got a fabulous little book 50 Simple Ways to Live a Longer Life: Everyday Techniques from the Forefront of Science, and I recommend you get it and read it.  But in the meantime I know most of you won’t, so here are the first 10 simple ways to live longer.  Some of the ways the book listed these don’t make sense to me so I’m making a few modifications.  Other than that, I’m supplying them right out of the book.  After part V, I’ll give you some of my own ideas.

This is Part II.  The other parts can be found here:

How to Live Longer Part II

  1. Visualize a long and healthy life

    Your non-conscious mind will then drive you to to do things that you know contribute to a long and healthy life.

  2. Calorie Restriction

    This is one thing on which virtually all aging experts agree.  Calorie restriction increases life span.  Basically a 40% reduction in calories below what you need to maintain will increase your lifespan 40%.  Your body adjusts.  Calorie restriction doesn’t just increase lifespan, it gives you a vital and vibrant life.  Most people will not do this and so I suggest a 20% reduction to get some of the benefit without looking somewhat anorexic.  After I get really healthy and fit, I’m going for the 20% reduction.

  3. Skip Meals

    This is a hard one for me. I’m a fan of six small meals, but the research is there. In animals, regular fasting has the same effect as calorie restriction. One recommendation is to skip breakfast, eat a light lunch, then eat a normal dinner.  Experts believe the underlying anti-aging mechanism is probably the same as calorie restriction.

  4. Walking

    30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking up to 5 times a week, works wonders.  It’s the 80/20 rule of exercise.  You get much of the benefits without the hard work of rigorous exercise.  I happen to believe that intense workouts provide the maximum benefit, but I’m not there yet.  I’m past walking, but I haven’t achieved the intensity level I believe is needed to really get the most benefit.

  5. Defy Stereotypes

    I think this one goes right along with visualization in number 1.  Don’t accept or act like you are getting old.  Don’t buy into stereotypes or allow others to talk about what it’s like to get old.  I’m guilty as hell on that one so I need to clean up my own act.

  6. Supplement

    Even the conservative establishment has come around to supplementation – slightly.  People simply don’t get the optimal level of nutrients from their diet and the JAMA recommends daily multi-vitamin supplementation.  Most studies on vitamins have either used isolated supplements (they work synergistically) or bad supplements (vitamin E studies don’t use the right kind of vitamin E).  There is conclusive evidence and many good studies (selenium and C taken together for example).  In any case if you don’t overdo it they can’t hurt.

  7. Take Aspirin

    Note: This can be dangerous for some so you might want to check with your doctor. In addition to the well known heart and stroke benefits, aspirin is becoming the super cancer prevention supplement.  For no other reason than that, you should consider it.  A 50% reduction in colon, prostate, melanoma, skin, stomach, and esophageal cancers?  A 20+% drop in breast and ovarian cancer?  I’m headed to get my baby aspirin right now!

  8. Keep Your Bones Strong

    It turns out Vitamin D and exercise is more important in preventing bone loss than calcium supplementation.  Ladies take note!  Take a D3 supplement and exercise for healthy bones.

  9. Social Connections

    This is a big one.  It seems that people who have strong social and family connections live longer and healthier lives.  It has also been linked strongly to having a healthy brain in old age.

  10. Volunteer

    I don’t really know why this helps, but I guess it has something to do with feeling good about yourself and having less stress.  Regardless of why, it turns out to be one of the most powerful ways to ward off premature aging and death.  Volunteering is correlated with a 50% reduction in premature death.  That’s hard to believe, but that’s what the book said.  I’m a little skeptical, but I don’t doubt it has some and maybe a lot of benefit.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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How to Live Longer Part II — The Rat Race Trap
July 20, 2009 at 7:44 pm

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Positively Present July 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I think all of these are GREAT ideas! I really believe all of these, if done, will contribute to a longer life. I’m looking forward to reading Part II!
.-= Positively Present´s last blog ..don’t let the bad ruin the good =-.

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Oscar - freestyle mind July 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Hey Stephen, thanks for the book suggestion, I’m going to check it out in the future. I like that these tips are both for physical and mental health.
.-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..How to Build a Successful Project =-.

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Trey - Swollen Thumb Entertainment July 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Hi Stephen, I’m not too interested in living longer, just having higher quality years. However, I believe that living better years and living more years usually share the same causes. We can live more fulfilling lives by doing many of these things that you mention above. Volunteering and social connections are the two that pop up in my mind, but I agree with most of these.

I’m a little skeptical about aspirin, but then again, I’m skeptical of all man made drugs. The main use of aspirin is to trick the brain into thinking that it isn’t in pain when it really is. Pain is a necessary part of our lives, to indicate that there is something wrong with our bodies. To mask this pain is somethings necessary to living a normal life, but oftentimes, people use aspirin as an alternative to seeking a cure for what ails them. I’m not sure about the reported positive side effects of aspirin, but I doubt that a person who eats right and exercises properly would benefit very much from an aspirin regiment. Then again, I could be wrong.
.-= Trey – Swollen Thumb Entertainment´s last blog ..Eliminate Failure From Your Vocabulary =-.

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Arswino July 19, 2009 at 4:56 am

Hi Stephen,

Great stuff here, except one …… aspirin. :)
As you said, some of the ways the book listed these don’t make sense.
.-= Arswino´s last blog ..The Power of Giving & Gratitude =-.

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Stephen Mills July 19, 2009 at 7:46 am

@Trey and @Arswino, keep an open mind. The studies on cancer and aspirin are clear and the mechanism in colorectal cancer has been identified. You may not be middle aged yet, but it also helps reduce the incidence of prostate cancer which affects more men than breast cancer affects women I believe. Everything is a personal choice, but if I were at high risk for cancer and I am for prostate, I would be taking it. Aspirin can also cause bleeding in the stomach, so it’s all a weighing of the risks. I believe soon they will be able to isolate the benefits and eliminate the side-effects of most drugs. Tomorrow things may change, but I’m all for having the best information currently available. If someone in your family has polyps, I would suggest they swallow aspirin.

“We knew that aspirin can block COX-2 function and that COX-2 is present in the vast majority of colorectal tumors but not in normal colon tissue,” explains Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, of the MGH Gastrointestinal Unit, the paper’s lead author.”

@Positively Present, thanks for your comments. Stay tuned!

@Oscar, thanks for commenting! Mental and physical are the same thing. Thoughts are physical things in the brain.

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George Anderson February 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Pretty good post, but there are a few points that maybe aren’t clear. Eating multiple small meals a day is inversely correlated with obesity (especially eating breakfast). This is because eating many small meals keeps your metabolism active throughout the day. Breakfast is especially important because your glycogen stores (back up glucose stored by your body) is quite low after sleeping and your body starts degrading proteins at this point (which isn’t a good thing).

Also, daily low-dose aspirin use is correlated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. I believe the current recommendation is that people with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality only should take low dose aspirin daily. If people have a history of GI bleeds or are taking other anti-inflammatory medications, they should certainly consult their doctor before taking aspirin.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19922038?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=8

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119001868/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

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Linda September 16, 2012 at 2:44 am

If one does want to live life longer, one should chose to be content at what they have. It drives our thinking into positive ways. Though problems are in part of us everyday, still the good ones or positive ones are abundant if we just notice what we have and what we are lucky about. :)
Linda´s last [type] ..RemoveSkinMoles.Com

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