Healthy Aging: How to live to 100

February 20, 2010 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

In a previous post, we wrote about Boomers with Zip, or Zoomers.  One of the recent issues of U.S. World and News & World Report is devoted to the topic of aging well – a chief concern of Zoomers.  The issue covers a wide variety of topics: longer life spans and longevity research, Medicare, epigenetics, eating, diet, and exercise, hormone therapy, Alzheimer’s disease, long-term care, and nursing homes (including the magazine’s rankings for Best Nursing Homes).  I found the profiles of nonagenarians and centenarians inspiring and a featured 10-week plan for getting fit designed by orthopedic surgeon Vonda Wright realistic (you don’t have to buy any trendy equipment). Issues of the magazine are available at the El Retiro, Henderson, North Torrance, and Walteria branches of the Torrance Public Library and you can borrow Vonda Wright’s book, Fitness After 40, or read the U.S. News & World Report special issue at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library.

Not to be outdone, Time Magazine also features the science of living longer in its February 22 issue. The focus of the Time Magazine special section is primarily on health, and thus a bit narrower than the U.S. News & World Report issue, but similar topics are covered and there are also profiles of centenarians with interesting information from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS), an investigation into the factors that help certain families produce members who live into their 80’s, 90’s and even 100’s. The study was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health and hopes to determine which genetic, environmental and behavioral factors contribute to longevity. Other research cited includes Dr. Bruce Yanker’s (Harvard Medical School) work on brain differences between those individuals that live to 100 with limited cognitive decline and those that show signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia before 85, and Dr. Mehmet Oz offers steps individuals can take to encourage longevity based on his research studying long-living populations:

  • The ability to exercise remains the single most powerful predictor of longevity so try to perform rigorous physical activity – at least three 30-minute workouts weekly that break a sweat
  • Get  15 minutes of sun every day (or take 1,000 IU of vitamin D) and take 1,000 mg. of calcium with 500 mg. of magnesium to avoid constipation
  • Eat foods that look the same when you consume them as when they came out of the ground
  • Sleep more than seven hours a day
  • Have a purpose (such as family, work, community) – it serves as motivation and inspiration

If you enjoy studying charts and statistics the “Map of Health” displays a chart on life expectancy at birth around the world – the longest is Macau at 84.4 years, the shortest is Angola at 38.2 years, with the United States recorded at 78.1 (12th on the chart).

Both articles mention the importance of keeping your brain active and what better place to find hundreds of free resources to aid you do just that than the Library!  Please do visit us to learn more about healthy aging.

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