Non-Negotiable Diet, Sleep and Exercise Routines For a Longer Life

Thanks to today’s advanced research and new innovations, it’s more than possible for us to live longer, stronger and healthier lives. While life expectancy in the U.S. dropped one full year during the first half of 2020, according to a CDC report, much of that was attributed to the pandemic. Prior to Covid, however, life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.8 years in 2019, up a tenth of a year over 2018.

As a longevity researcher, I’ve spent the bulk of my career gathering insights from world-leading health experts, doctors, scientists and nutritionists from all over the world. Here’s what I tell people when they ask about the non-negotiable rules I live by for a longer life:

1. Get regular checkups

Early diagnosis is critical for the prevention of disease and age-related decline, so it’s important to get yourself checked regularly, and as comprehensively as possible.

At the very least, I make it a point to have a complete annual physical exam that includes blood count and metabolic blood chemistry panels, a thyroid panel and testing to reveal potential deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin B, iron and magnesium (all nutrients that our body needs to perform a variety of essential functions).

2. Let food be thy medicine

Poor diet is the top driver of noncommunicable diseases worldwide, killing at least 11 million people every year.

Here are some of my diet rules for a longer life:

  • Eat more plants: To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, try to have every meal include at least one plant-based dish. I typically have broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or zucchini as a side for lunch and dinner. When I snack, I opt for berries, nuts or fresh veggies.
  • Avoid processed foods: Many products you find in grocery stores today are loaded with salt, sugar, saturated fats and chemical preservatives. A 2019 study of 20,000 men and women aged 21 to 90 found that a diet high in processed foods resulted in an 18% increased risk of death by all causes.
  • Drink more water: Most of us drink far too little water for our optimal health. I keep a bottle of water with lemon slices at hand wherever I spent most of my day.
  • Include healthy fats: Not all fats are bad. High-density lipids (HDL), including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are considered “good fats,” and are essential to a healthy heart, blood flow and blood pressure.

3. Get moving (yes, walking counts)

Just 15 to 25 minutes of moderate exercise a day can prolong your life by up to three years if you are obese, and seven years if you are in good shape, one study found.

I try not to focus on the specific type of exercise you do. Anything that gets you up out of the chair, moving and breathing more intensely on a regular basis is going to help.

That’s why the method I practice and recommend the most is extremely simple: Walking. Brisk walking can improve cardiovascular health and reduce risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. It can even ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.

4. Eat early, and less often

Clinical data shows that intermittent fasting — an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting — can improve insulin stability, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mental alertness and energy.

To ease into the “eat early, and less often” diet, I started with a 16:8-hour intermittent fasting regimen. This is where you eat all of your meals within one eight-hour period — for instance, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

But keep in mind that a fasting or caloric-restricted diet isn’t for everyone; always talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet and eating routine.

5. Constantly work on quitting bad habits

One of the biggest toxic habits is excessive use of alcohol. Studies show that high and regular use can contribute to damages your liver and pancreas, high blood pressure and the immune system.

Large amounts of sugar consumption is another bad habit. Sure, in the right doses, sugars from fruits, vegetables and even grains play an important role in a healthy diet. I eat fruits and treat myself to some ice cream once in a while. But make no mistake: Excess sugar in all its forms is poison. To lessen my intake, I avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.

Lastly, I don’t smoke — but for anyone who does, I recommend quitting as soon as possible. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is behind 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S.

6. Make sleep your superpower

A handful of studies of millions of sleepers show that less sleep can lead to a shorter life. Newer studies are strengthening known and suspected relationships between inadequate sleep and a wide range of disorders, including hypertensionobesity and diabetes and impaired immune functioning.

I aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night. For me, an essential ingredient for getting quality sleep is darkness; I make sure there’s no light and no electronic devices in my room before bedtime.

 

By: Sergey Young, Contributor

Sergey Young is a longevity researcher, investor and the founder of Longevity Vision Fund. He is also the author of “The Science and Technology of Growing Young: An Insider’s Guide to the Breakthroughs That Will Dramatically Extend Our Lifespan.” Sergey is on the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Aging Research and the Development Sponsor of Age Reversal XPRIZE global competition, designed to cure aging. Follow him on Twitter @SergeyYoung200.

Source: ‘Non-negotiable’ diet, sleep and exercise routines for a longer life

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Harder Workout Intensity May Not Increase Your Longevity

Good news if you take a more leisurely approach to your workouts: a recent study found that people who performed harder workouts didn’t live any longer, on average, when compared with people who did more moderate workouts. Researchers studied a group of people in Norway who participated in five years of supervised exercise training.

The participants included 790 women and 777 men (with an average age of 73), divided into three groups. Everyone followed federal recommendations to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. But in addition to that, one group received two supervised weekly sessions of high-intensity interval training. A second group added two supervised moderate-intensity continuous training workouts per week. All three groups continued their assigned workouts for five years.

At the conclusion of the trial, 4.6% of the participants had died, but there was no significant difference in death rates between the group that followed the modest federal exercise recommendations and the two groups that did the more intense workouts. In addition, all groups had similar levels of cardiovascular disease and deaths from cancer.

However, that’s not to say that participating in regular high-intensity workouts wasn’t linked to any benefits. The participants who did the harder workouts had better outcomes on certain measures of mental health and physical fitness.

By: Harward Health Publishing

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Mayo Proceedings

Dr. Carl -Chip- Lavie, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Ochsner Clinical School and the University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana, in an Editorial appearing in the September 2014 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, clarifies the difference between elite and extreme athletes, and demonstrates that more is not better with regard to exercise. Peak benefits are gained from 30-40 and less than 60 minutes daily of moderate exercise. Available at: http://tinyurl.com/nu74s77

Fit In My 40s You Could Do a Workout Using Only Your Body & Resistance Bands – The Guardian

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The first thing you need for a home workout is a really tidy house. I’m not remotely house proud, but I can’t do even half a sit-up if I can see an empty yoghurt pot under the sofa (and I always can). So while, in theory, learning how to get fit under your own steam and using your own accessories removes your single biggest impediment to becoming your best self, in reality you have to become a better self before you start. Do not skimp on a mat: I roamed around the house for days thinking if I just lit upon the best rug, I would be fine……….

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/27/fit-in-my-40s-you-could-do-a-workout-using-only-your-body-and-resistance-bands

 

 

 

 

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30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself – Marc Chernoff

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Our previous article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself, was well received by most of our readers, but several of you suggested that we follow it up with a list of things to start doing.  In one reader’s words, “I would love to see you revisit each of these 30 principles, but instead of presenting us with a ‘to-don’t’ list, present us with a ‘to-do’ list that we all can start working on today, together.”  Some folks, such as readers Danny Head and Satori Agape, actually took it one step further and emailed us their own revised ‘to-do’ versions of the list…..

Read more: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/18/30-things-to-start-doing-for-yourself

 

 

 

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There’s Something About Mary & Power of Positive Ageing – Warren Gamble

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In the middle of the cafe, Mary Jaksch drops to the floor and starts doing press ups.

Two middle-aged men look a bit startled over their flat whites. They would be more surprised if they knew her age or her exercise regime; they would be less surprised if they knew Mary.

She was demonstrating the military style push-ups she did when she turned 70 last November. It’s a tradition at her Nelson Seido Karate dojo to complete your age in push-ups on your birthday.

Mary, a fifth dan blackbelt, dismissed a colleague’s suggestion to take the easy way out by doing the push-ups from her knees. “I wouldn’t be seen dead doing that,” she told him.

Instead, after a two-hour black belt class she polished off the 70 with straight legs, to the cheers of her colleagues.

Pushing herself physically is practising what she preaches – youthful or positive ageing. The main idea is that you should relish getting older, that with the right attitude and effort you can have the time of your life.

After her press ups she said karate students in their 20s told her they could not have done the challenge now, let alone at 70.

“My answer to them was why not? All you have to do is keep going and rev up.

“That’s when I realised that so many people, no matter what age, have this idea of this terrible downward slope as they age. They can’t do things, their body sags, they get weaker and so on.”

In typical fashion, Mary decided to do something about spreading the message that retirement doesn’t mean a weary resignation.

A whole lot, in Mary’s case.

She came to New Zealand from Germany as a classical flautist, in the 1980s became the first female director of the Nelson School of Music, changed careers to become a counsellor and psychotherapist, and then in her 60s took up blogging about the practice of Zen meditation (she is a Zen master) and, later, launched another blog on writing.

There were triggers for those diverging paths, but they also highlight her willingness to experiment, “my question is always what if…?”.

The first switch came when she was still a classical musician and got involved as a volunteer in a halfway house for young people with drug problems.

“I thought, when I’m standing on the stage playing, whose life am I changing? Since then that question has been a guiding light for me.”

So she studied to become a counsellor and psychotherapist. She was making more of a difference, but says eventually the effort of being in a “flattened state” to receive her clients’ stories took a toll. She worried she might not be able to bounce back.

Her move to blogging came after a builder left her high and dry with an unfinished house that not only swallowed a nest egg but left her with a big debt.

“That was a low point. At the time I was 60 years old, what next?”

Her son Sebastian Grodd suggested writing a blog. “What’s a blog?” she asked him. Her first Goodlife Zen blog post had three subscribers, her son, her best friend and her cat Sweetie.

It has grown exponentially and internationally since then. Together with her other site, Write to Done, which has writing tips and blogging advice, she says her audience now numbers about three million.

It’s unsurprising that she has opened up another chapter with her books, and another physical challenge.

She wanted to see how a 70-year-old body would respond to four months of a sustained, intense workouts. To control her experiment she enlisted the help of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology sport, recreation and  and exercise diploma students, subjecting herself to the indignities of the caliper body fat test, exercises to measure her baseline fitness, balance and co-ordination.

She also did a specialised test for telomeres, the protective casings on the end of chromosomes which fray as we age. The results showed hers corresponded to that of a 45-year-old.

But at her first hour-long class at the Whakatu HQ “box” or gym when she was introduced to the mix of aerobic exercise, Olympic weightlifting and calisthenics she admits to a “kind of wide-eyed with shock” .

Those are the moments to embrace what’s been described as the “ouch factor,” Mary says, the mental and physical effort that signals rejuvenation.

She stuck at it and four months on she says her strength  and mobility have markedly increased. Along the way she “accidentally” signed up to a transTasman crossfit competition, finishing fifth in New Zealand in the 60-plus category.

NMIT exercise students Ricky 
Silva and Isaiah Stevenson put Mary through her paces to gauge her baseline fitness.

Mary Jaksch

NMIT exercise students Ricky Silva and Isaiah Stevenson put Mary through her paces to gauge her baseline fitness.

Whakatu HQ owner Lucas Bennett says Mary has been “incredible”.

“Everyone that you tell she’s 70, they say ‘nah’; fifties or 60 at a push. She is very mobile and has picked up on the weights very well.”

Lifting physical and mental weights has become a passion, for herself and to show the way to others.

At her Madhatters Toastmasters club, she recently did a speech exhorting the audience to “bust through your personal glass ceiling”. During it, she flung off her dress and an outer top to reveal her sports wear, with muscled shoulders and arms someone much younger would be proud of.

She hopes to set an example, much as her father had done, and to answer her own question about changing people’s lives for the positive.

“Once you see how somebody could be at my age, your whole world view changes,” she says. “You have to keep going. I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do 75 press ups at 75.  In fact I should be able to do more because I’m now much stronger than I was then.”

Mary’s positive ageing tips

* Change your mindset about retirement, from a time to do nothing, to a chance to do everything.

* Start slow, make small changes to exercise and diet.

* It’s the upward trajectory that counts, no matter how slowly you get there.

* Exercise with friends, you get more motivation and support.

* On those days when you can’t be bothered, focus on one thing, like putting your exercise gear on.

* Focus on one exercise at a time; don’t look too far ahead.

* Be mindful, get in touch with how your body is feeling; don’t block it out with music.

She says the research for her first book showed people in their 80s and 90s doing extraordinary things. “Compared to some of them, I’m just a young chick, I’ve got my whole life in front of me.”

So she signed up for “the hardest thing I could think of” – the punishing strength and conditioning programme of CrossFit-style exercise.

 

 

 

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