4 Things Aging Experts Do To Live Longer and Feel Better

Mobility training is important for healthy aging because it helps make everyday tasks easier. Image Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/GettyImages

When you look into your future, who do you want to see? Someone who’s full of life and chatting everyone up, telling vibrant stories about your past? Still signing up for 10Ks well into your seventh decade? Someone whose doctor tells them they have the heart of someone decades younger?

It’s possible to live longer and feel better if you have the right habits. Here’s what internal medicine doctors, registered dietitians and certified personal trainers do to make sure they age well:

1. ‘I Switch Up My Food’

Variety is the X-factor when it comes to building a healthy diet for longevity, Angel Planells, MD, RDN, a Seattle-based national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

“Consuming a wide variety of foods — whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy and meat and non-meat protein — helps to fuel my body and have it running like a high-octane sports car,” he says. As Planells explains, variety beats boredom and ensures he’s getting a range of nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

That’s on display with his protein choices, where he toggles between chicken, fish, pork and lamb, as well as snacking on nuts and seeds. In addition to being used to build and repair muscles and maintain the strength of your skeleton, protein is also important for the health of hair and nails, too, he says.

2. ‘I Get Some Sort of Movement in Every Day’

Eric Goldberg, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health and senior director of NYU Langone Internal Medicine Associates, heads out for a run first thing in the morning.”Establishing a strong baseline for fitness at a younger age has been shown to lead to healthier aging,” he tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Movement has looked different for him during the pandemic, and he’s had to make adjustments that would benefit his health the most during the changes of the past year. “I started to run more days of the week — but shorter distances — in order to combat the stress of the past year and to have some intentional movement each day, especially with longer days sitting on a screen,” Dr. Goldberg explains.

Not only does this buoy his physical and mental health today, but it protects against the risk of frailty in the future. Frailty is a syndrome where loss of muscle leads to weakness, slowness, poor endurance and a low level of physical activity, per the Medical University of South Carolina. People who have frailty are more likely to fall, be hospitalized and have an increased risk of mortality — but frailty is not inevitable with aging.

The key, Dr. Goldberg says, is to get into the habit so that this daily movement becomes more automatic. “Habits generally take a month to build, so consistency is essential. Once integrated into your routine, they are easier to maintain,” he says.

3. ‘I Commit to Sleep’

One of the best pieces of healthy aging and longevity advice can be the hardest one to follow: Prioritize sleep as best as you can. Brent Agin, MD, founder and medical director at Priority You MD in Clearwater, Florida, aims for 7 to 8 hours per night. “Quality of sleep is more important than quantity in most cases, so I don’t try to achieve a sleep cycle that’s unrealistic,” Dr. Agin tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Sleep, along with a nutrient-packed diet and regular exercise, is what Dr. Agin considers the three essentials for a healthy lifestyle. “Lifestyle is the driving force behind healthy aging,” he says.

If you know you’re lacking the sleep component, a good place to start is to aim to sleep more than six hours and then incrementally add on 15 minutes from there until you get to a duration that feels good to you. Sleeping fewer than six hours per night is associated with a higher risk of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to the ​Journal of the American Heart Association​.

4. ‘I Exercise According to the 3 Pillars’

There is actually no one right way to exercise, but for the most benefit, you should mix it up. “To make sure I’m prepared for healthy aging, I stick to the idea that my training is diverse and it covers the three pillars that I always go by: cardiovascular training for your heart, strength training for bone health and flexibility, and mobility training for balance,” Aleksandra Stacha-Fleming, certified personal trainer and founder of Longevity Lab NYC, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

The end goal isn’t a specific look or body type, but to allow your body to move freely and do what you need it to do. “Everyone who’s active knowns how good it feels to be able to do everyday tasks without being out of breath, such as being strong enough to shovel the snow out of your driveway or carry groceries home from the store,” Stacha-Fleming says. “To simply do the normal stuff of living freely is aging gracefully with strength, and we should work on that every day.”

Source: 4 Things Aging Experts Do to Live Longer and Feel Better | livestrong

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Pilates: Research Shows How This Low-Impact Workout Can Benefit Your Health

Pilates has seen a jump in popularity recently thanks to a spate of celebrity endorsements, including the Kardashians, model Hailey Bieber and actress Kate Hudson. Even elite athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Murray incorporate some form of pilates into their training to improve performance.

Pilates is said to be good for your balance, posture, strength and flexibility, as well as improving your core strength. And the best part about it is that anyone can do it, not just celebrities and athletes. But does research show that it’s as good for your health as many people claim?

There are two main types of pilates. The simplest is mat pilates – which you only need a yoga mat to do, and can be done both at home or in a class. The other type of pilates (which is becoming increasingly popular) is reformer pilates. This uses a specialised apparatus (called a reformer) – a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it.

The platform moves forward and backwards on wheels within the frame. The platform is attached to one end of the frame by springs and these produce tension. Most reformer pilates involves pushing or pulling the platform, or holding it steady as it’s pulled on by the strings. This movement engages several muscles – particularly the core.

What the evidence says

Pilates is a form of muscle strengthening exercise, which is well-known to be important for maintaining good health. Strength training is important as it helps us prevent the slow muscle deterioration that occurs as we get older. It also increases muscle mass, which can in turn increase metabolism – which is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

There’s some evidence that doing eight weeks of pilates for one hour a day, four times a week can increase metabolism and reduce obesity in obese women. In older adults, a review of research showed pilates training improved balance and helped prevent falls.

Another study even showed that inactive women who began performing only one hour of pilates a week for ten weeks had improved muscle mass, flexibility, balance and core strength. Research also shows that pilates may even be used to treat low back pain and improve balance in adults with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s’s disease.

The evidence shows us that pilates can certainly lead to several health benefits. While more intense types of strength training – such as weight lifting – are likely to confer even greater benefits, pilates can still be a great way for people to control their weight and build strength. The best part about it is that this workout can be done by almost anyone anywhere, and doesn’t require a lot of equipment or a gym membership.

Reformer v mat pilates

Among people who do pilates, there’s a lot of discussion about which type is superior: mat or reformer pilates.There’s actually little research out there comparing the two types. One study looking at the treatment of low back pain found that both reformer pilates and mat pilates worked equally well to improve back pain in people who did the workout for six weeks.

Both types also equally improved people’s ability to undertake daily activities, such as getting out of bed or doing the dishes. But when participants were followed up four and a half months later, the reformer pilates group continued to experience improvements in their daily life compared to the mat pilates group.

Another study from Brazil also showed both reformer pilates and mat pilates used the same number of muscles and activated them to the same extent – suggesting there’s no difference between the two methods, and that both are equally effective. But this conflicts with the findings of another study, which showed reformer pilates caused people to burn more calories (2.6 calories per minute) than mat Pilates (1.9 calories per minute).

The reason for the slight differences between these two types of pilates comes down to how they’re performed. While mat pilates uses your body weight as resistance during the movements, reformer pilates uses the unstable platform and springs to create resistance. This might create greater resistance and activate more muscles. Though this wasn’t supported by the Brazilian study, they only looked at one movement, so more research is needed.

Although research can’t quite agree on whether mat pilates or reformer pilates is better for you, that doesn’t mean that reformer pilates isn’t still great for your health. For example, one study showed that people who did reformer pilates for nine weeks had improved cholesterol levels and lower insulin resistance, suggesting that it can help maintain weight and lower the risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.

As you can see, pilates is becoming popular for good reason as it provides many health benefits. People of all ages and abilities can do it, including pregnant women. How you decide to do it is entirely up to you, but if you have health difficulties or are pregnant, you may want to consult your doctor first.

By:

Source: Pilates: research shows how this low-impact workout can benefit your health

Critics by Eun-Ju Lim and Eun-Jung Hyun

This study investigates whether Pilates and yoga lead people to adopt generally health-promoting lifestyle elements and feel better about their physical and mental fitness. To this end, we designed an 8 week exercise program of Pilates and yoga reviewed by veteran practitioners and conducted an experimental study through which we collected the data from 90 volunteered adult subjects between ages 30 and 49 (mean age = 35.47), equally represented by women and men without previous experience with Pilates or yoga.

In the 8 week long experiment, we assigned the subjects to three groups, where subjects in the two exercise groups regularly took part in either Pilates or yoga classes, and the control group participated in neither exercise classes. All participants completed two surveys, the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP II) and the Health Self-Rating Scale (HSRS), before and after their assigned program. In our analysis of pre- and post-treatment differences across the three groups, we ran ANOVA, ANCOVA, and Sheffé test, implemented using SPSS PASW Statistics 18.00.

Our results indicate that Pilates and yoga groups exhibited a higher engagement in health-promoting behaviors than the control group after the program. Subjective health status, measured with HSRS, also improved significantly among Pilates and yoga participants compared to those in the control group after the program. The supplementary analysis finds no significant gender-based difference in these impacts.

Overall, our results confirm that Pilates and yoga help recruit health-promoting behaviors in participants and engender positive beliefs about their subjective health status, thereby setting a positive reinforcement cycle in motion. By providing clear evidence that the promotion of Pilates or yoga can serve as an effective intervention strategy that helps individuals change behaviors adverse to their health, this study offers practical implications for healthcare professionals and public health officials alike.

Among many kinds of physical activity programs, it is noteworthy that Pilates and yoga have gained increasing popularity amongst the general public over the past two decades. Pilates and yoga are particularly appealing due to their direct benefits on physical wellbeing—including weight control and improved posture, flexibility, and cardiovascular function—that come with low risks of sports-related injuries

. According to an annual survey conducted by IDEA(International Dance Exercise Association) Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey in 2007, Pilates ranked sixth on the most frequently offered exercise programs, a vast improvement since 1999 . In the same year, yoga also ranked 13th, although its position has undergone gradual declines from its peak in 2002. In annual Fitness Trends Surveys carried out by a United States (US)-based association of Sports Medicine, Pilates and yoga have been frequently listed as Worldwide Fitness Trends since 2008.

Evidence of the direct health benefits of Pilates and yoga is growing. For example, some studies showed that regular engagement in Pilates is associated with a boost in functional autonomy, balance, flexibility, and muscle strength . Other studies show that regular yoga participation helped individuals alleviate muscle-related pains, especially among adults with sedentary lifestyles or suffering from chronic illnesses

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14 Critical Financial Results Businesses Have Seen From The Remote Work Movement

What started out as a necessity has turned into a way of life for many: remote work. Over two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shift to remote work, experts are starting to see some of the financial implications of moving work out of the traditional office setting.

While results are largely promising and several experts point to various ways remote work has helped businesses financially, the members of Forbes Finance Council have been observing both positive and negative financial trends among businesses newly engaged in remote work. Below, 14 of them share some key financial results they’ve observed for companies that have switched to remote work and why these insights should matter to every business leader.

1. Companies Are Paying Compliance Fines

While financial implications are usually positive, we’re actually seeing challenges caused by remote work—specifically, around monitoring communications for compliance purposes. With the move to remote work, compliance staff were basically left blind as to what is going on in their organizations. Those organizations that didn’t adapt fast enough are now receiving regulatory fines of $200 million and up. – Shiran Weitzman, Shield

2. Companies Are Spending Money To Improve Communication Applications

When an organization is considering remote work options, thought must be given to maximizing communication efforts. Before making the switch, measure the tradeoff. Yes, you are likely able to recognize cost savings in certain areas, but where do you need to spend to improve your communication applications to maintain efficiencies? – Kacey Butcher, Adaptation Financial

3. Industries That Require In-Person Training Are Struggling To Maintain Productivity

Remote work is not helpful or workable in a growing number of industries that require training younger employees to be experts in their fields. It’s hard to train new lawyers and accountants on how to do their jobs if they can’t work alongside someone and learn how it works. This lowers productivity and impedes the ability to replenish the workforce, which ultimately impacts profitability. – John Ward, Bridge Investment Group

4. Struggles With Customer Service Are Causing Some Companies To Lose Business

While some companies have made the transition seamlessly, others have failed miserably. We have moved our bank accounts and our P&C brokers. Both are big names in their respective industries. It feels like there is a lack of supervision. I have waited days for a return call for basic services. Companies that can operate remotely and still provide excellent service thrive during this new period. – Michael Seltzer, Vérité Group, LLC

5. Remote Work Culture Can Get Watered Down

Culture is defined as the values, ideas, attitudes and goals that characterize a firm. Firms work extremely hard at developing a great culture. If there is a large contingency of employees always working remotely, a firm’s culture can get watered down. This can have a ripple effect throughout the organization. – DeLynn Zell, Bridgeworth Wealth Management

6. There Are Hidden Costs In Maintaining A Strong Culture

A fully remote business requires a strong company culture to ensure a sense of purpose and shared passion for your employees. While the overhead costs might be lower with a remote team, it is vital to consider the hidden costs of maintaining a strong culture while working remotely and investing in technological changes and employees’ future prosperity, retraining and role in the community. – Peter Goldstein, Exchange Listing LLC

7. Managing A Multi-State Workforce Is Challenging

Remote work is not for every company or role, and oversight is important. The biggest impact is the inability, especially in small businesses, to cope with a multi-state workforce. They are not equipped to manage multi-state systems for payroll and benefits and are struggling with remote people management. Seek help on regulatory and personnel management and development matters. – David Kelley, Mailprotector

8. Expenditures On Rent Can Be Significantly Reduced

If work is consistently completed in a timely manner, remote work could provide a potential windfall in expense savings for a business owner. Moving to smaller offices brings down rent costs, as does allowing employees to work from remote locations. In addition, employees saving commute time will be happy to have the flexibility and will feel motivated to be sure their work is done on time, efficiently and accurately. – Christopher Drake, Drake Consulting Group, LLC

9. Companies With Large Office Spaces Are Considering Leasing Or Selling

We might have switched to a “hybrid office,” but in reality, we’re only using about 20% of our office space. That’s a huge financial responsibility for a space we aren’t using to its full capacity anymore. Now, we’re starting to ask ourselves if we should lease or sell our property. That’s a tough decision, but at the end of the day, we need to do what makes sense for the business. – Christopher Hurn, Fountainhead Commercial Capital

10. Remote Work Can Add Complex Tax Implications

A company can get a nasty surprise when its remote workers move to states the company wasn’t registered in. This creates new payroll and income tax exposures. Additionally, some states and cities are still trying to hold onto potential tax revenue, even if the employees no longer work or live there. The short-term result is more tax exposure, fines, paperwork and compliance. – Aaron Spool, Eventus Advisory Group, LLC

11. There’s A Higher Risk Of Costly Data Breaches

A data breach is one of the most significant financial risks that come with remote work. Remote offices still need to maintain data integrity and security, especially during periods of high employee turnover. Files are shared remotely and in different time zones. Confidentiality within a household can’t be verified or secured. Companies that want to shift to remote work must set up data integrity systems first. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

12. Businesses Are Investing More In Cybersecurity

Although business leaders generally expect to cut operating costs by implementing a remote work environment, doing so does require additional investment to enhance cybersecurity measures. Before switching to a remote or hybrid work environment, business leaders and advisors alike must ensure that they have the right tools in place to secure their network while keeping costs in line. – Mara Garcia, Phonexa Holdings, LLC

13. Companies Are Incurring New And Increased Tech Costs

There has been an increased investment in technology and process creation for operational efficiencies. Examples include internal and external communications SaaS products that were previously not present in our business, VO VO +1.7%IP phone systems, messaging systems, video conferencing software, shared digital document storage, and tech equipment, including laptops, headsets and high-speed internet. – Cynthia Hemingway, Fourlane, Inc.

14. Models For The Cost Value Of Production Are Changing

Managing production and the cost value of production in a remote workforce is more difficult than it is within a controlled office environment. Efficiencies in a remote workforce are lower than those in a physical workforce, and this difference is greater within industries that require a high level of collaboration between co-workers. Financial models for the cost value of production have changed. – Joseph Orseno, Tiltify

Source: 14 Critical Financial Results Businesses Have Seen From The Remote Work Movement

Related contents:

Business group warns rise of remote work threatens Mass. economy Boston

19:13 Fri, 12 Aug
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My Year of Smells: How I Regained Lost Smells After Covid

It was October 2020. The days were getting shorter; the news was getting worse. I was looking for a small distraction, something to look forward to in the coming pandemic winter. After a brief consideration of the limited available options, I decided to get into perfume.

After a little online research, I signed up for the subscription box Olfactif because, beyond forking over my credit card information, it did not require me to make any decisions. For the relatively affordable price of $19 a month, the company would pick out three sample-size perfumes on a vaguely seasonal theme and send them to my door. It was a way to guarantee myself something that had been in short supply that year: a nice surprise.

I wasn’t alone. After a dip at the start of the pandemic, fragrance sales started to rebound in August 2020 and were surging by early 2021, up 45 percent from the first quarter of 2020. “Last year was super busy,” Kimberly Waters, founder of the Harlem perfume shop MUSE, told me. Pandemic-numbed consumers “needed to feel like themselves, needed to feel new again, needed to feel something,” Waters said. “And fragrance was that vehicle.”

For me, perfume was a way to feel a little excitement amid the stress and monotony of the pandemic. I might not have been able to eat in a restaurant or see my parents or go a day without experiencing existential dread, but I could open up my Olfactif box and sample, for instance, Blackbird’s Hallow v. 2, a standout from the October collection with notes of benzoin, frankincense, and marzipan.

I couldn’t tell you what benzoin actually smells like, but I do know that Hallow reminded me of ghost stories, of forests and dark places, of fears that were fun and manageable, intriguing rather than consuming. Amid the long, isolated slog of late 2020 and early 2021, my perfume box became a reliable escape.

Then — maybe you knew this was coming — I got Covid, and I became one of the hundreds of millions of people around the world to suffer from anosmia, a partial or total loss of the sense of smell. Anosmia is generally seen as one of the milder symptoms of Covid-19; it’s not particularly dangerous on its own, and people presenting with anosmia tend to have less severe cases of Covid-19 overall. This was the case for me — I felt very lucky to emerge from quarantine with a messed-up nose as my only enduring symptom.

That symptom, though manageable, turned out to be significant. Covid-19 changed my relationship to smell, even — perhaps especially — as that sense began, slowly and strangely, to return. Learning to smell again came to symbolize resilience and healing, but also simply forward movement: a sign of personal, biological progress in a year when everything seemed stuck in a terrible cycle.

Smell, Waters said, is “how we navigate our lives.” And this year, regaining smell has been how I navigate, if not back to the shore we all left in early 2020, then at least to a place where I can recognize my surroundings, and start to make a home.


Scientists know very little for certain about how Covid-19 damages our sense of smell. Danielle Reed, associate director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, studies taste and smell; she told me one popular theory is that the virus infects a group of cells called the sustentacular cells, which “support and nourish the smell cells” in the nose. When the sustentacular cells are infected, the smell cells lose their nutrition, and “that’s how things suddenly go south,” as Reed put it.

Another theory holds that when fighting SARS-CoV2, the immune system produces a substance that switches off the function of the smell cells. That explanation would fit with the experience of people who go to bed one night fine and “wake up the next morning and they can’t smell their coffee,” Reed said. Whatever the cause, loss of smell is extremely common: about 86 percent of Covid-19 patients lose some or all of their sense of smell, according to one study, while others put the figure even higher.

The extent of the effect varies among patients. Some people lose everything, like Tejal Rao, a restaurant critic for the New York Times, who first discovered her Covid-induced anosmia in the shower. “At first, I mistook the lack of aromas for a new smell, a curious smell I couldn’t identify — was it the water itself? the stone tiles?” she wrote, “before realizing it was just a blank, a cushion of space between me and my world.”

Others, like me, experience only partial anosmia — some smells are lost, while some remain. At first, I had no idea I’d been affected at all.

Every morning while my family was in quarantine, I put on perfume to lift my spirits. I chose House of James’s Sun King, a citrusy blend of mandarin, green tea, and black agar I’d received in my February 2021 box. While we were very fortunate not to get sicker, the first few days of our illness were tense ones — my husband quarantined in our bedroom, both of us double-masking at all times in a futile attempt to avoid infecting our then-2-year-old son. Perfume was a way to remind myself that I was human, not just a machine for converting raw anxiety into nose wipes, temp checks, and healthy snacks.

By week two, our son was mercifully fever-free (though extremely tired of being indoors), my husband was stuffy but on the mend, and I was sick of Sun King. I had told myself a new perfume would be my reward for finishing quarantine, and so when I finally got the all-clear from the New York City Test and Trace Corps, I popped open a vial of Musc Invisible, the only February fragrance I had yet to try.

Musc Invisible, by the fragrance brand Juliette Has a Gun, is supposed to smell like jasmine, cotton flowers, and white musk. Long a fan of musk fragrances (like many people, I enjoyed The Body Shop’s White Musk in the ’90s), I was excited to sample it. But when I sprayed it on, it smelled like nothing with a hint of something — or like someone had wrapped my head in several layers of gauze and then opened a vial of perfume across the room.

Once I realized something was off, I went around the house sniffing everything in an effort to gauge the damage. Many objects smelled normal — I remember sticking my nose in a jar of peanut butter and being satisfied at its peanut-ness. Others had lost their scent entirely — the candles my mother had sent me in a birthday care package, once rosemary and lemon balm, were now nothing and nothing.

The candles my mother had sent me in a birthday care package, once rosemary and lemon balm, were now nothing and nothing.

Others still occupied a disconcerting middle ground, not as I remembered them, but not completely scent-less, either. The perfume I wore to my wedding, for example, a rose oil I still keep in a bottle on my dresser, smelled like the faintest hint of its former self — or maybe I was just remembering the smell, and not really smelling it at all?

Such experiences became commonplace this year, but before the pandemic, they were considered relatively rare. One of the few people to chronicle the loss of smell prior to Covid-19 was Molly Birnbaum, whose 2011 memoir Season to Taste details her recovery from a brain injury that damaged her olfactory nerves.

“When I lost my sense of smell in a car accident, it was devastating,” Birnbaum said. At the time a 22-year-old aspiring chef, she ended up having to change careers because her loss of smell had also affected her ability to taste. “All of the nuance of flavor, all of the details, ” she said, “that was gone.”

To this day I’m not sure if I lost taste along with smell in February. Food in general seemed to taste less good, but I couldn’t tell if I was actually experiencing dysgeusia — the technical term for an altered sense of taste — or simply stress-induced lack of appetite. I experienced my post-Covid sensory change not as a devastation but as a profound murkiness, of a piece with the anxiety and confusion all around me.

The pandemic had already wiped away so much that had once seemed certain: that children would go to school, that some adults would go to work in offices, that families could gather together for holidays. No one knew when it would be over; no one knew what the next month or week or even day would hold. I remember feeling that even the changing of the seasons was no longer a sure thing — in February 2020, I had told my husband, “at least winter will be over soon.” Then winter came for the whole world, and stayed for more than a year.

It seemed fitting, in this context, that I should no longer be able to trust my senses. Indeed, uncertainty is a hallmark of Covid-induced anosmia. There’s no single accepted clinical test, like an eye chart, to gauge people’s sense of smell, Reed said. There are tests used in research, but they aren’t readily available to the general public. That means people are generally left trying to gauge their condition, and their recovery, by trying to remember what things smelled like before Covid — a process that’s flawed at best. “If you take your temperature, you know if you’re getting better,” Reed said. “Your fever was 102, and now it’s 100.1.”

With smell, though, “there’s no real metric,” she said. “It’s very frustrating for people.”


Most Covid-19 patients do eventually regain some sense of smell. But 10 to 20 percent of those affected are still experiencing significant impairment a year after their diagnosis, Reed said. The recovery process itself, meanwhile, can be disorienting, unsettling, and even disgusting.

Some people experience parosmia, in which smells are distorted — a French wine expert recently told the Times that during her recovery, “peanuts smelled like shrimp, raw ham like butter, rice like Nutella.” Others are confronted with phantosmia, smells that aren’t there at all.

For me, it was the smell of coffee, which began wafting into my nose (or brain) every afternoon sometime around March, even though I haven’t had a cup of coffee since 2009. Others have more upsetting olfactory hallucinations: Some smell cigarette smoke or even rotting flesh.

For Birnbaum, it was “an earthy, garden-y scent” that seemed to follow her everywhere. At first, “I thought I was smelling my own brain,” she recalled, as though “my recovery process was allowing me to smell what was inside of me.”

But then, slowly but surely, real smells began to come back — first the smell of fresh rosemary, then other pleasant smells, and last of all, bad smells like garbage. “I was living in New York in the summer, and there was trash on the street corner, and I could smell it, which was very exciting,” Birnbaum said.

I, too, remember the excitement of recognizing a smell again after its long absence. I was walking in the park one day in May when I realized I could smell fresh grass again. I kept sniffing flowers and smelling nothing until, one day in July, I felt the winey sweetness of a red rose hit the back of my throat. All spring and summer I had the sense of smells returning to me out of nothingness, like figures stepping out of the dark.

Smell, for me, became a way to measure time — time since our illness, time since the pandemic began, time since we’d been vaccinated and things started to go back to some semblance of normal. I know I’m not alone in losing my grasp of the passage of time since Covid-19 hit — often I still forget what month it is, even what year. But I know that now I don’t smell phantom coffee anymore, and I can, just barely, smell the lemon balm candle in my bathroom. Something must be progressing, no matter how slow.


People who work with smell often emphasize its ability to ground us, to situate us in time and space. Every day during lockdown, Waters, the MUSE founder, says she used some kind of scent, whether it was perfume, incense, or a candle. “It was how I remembered life before the pandemic,” she said. “It made me feel like myself at a time when I was just so confused.”

I also kept using perfume, even after my incident with Musc Invisible. At first it was a source of anxiety — would I be able to smell the next vial? Was White Castitas — a sample from the June box with notes of lemon, sandalwood, and licorice — just very subtle, or was I still missing some crucial licorice sensors deep inside my nose?

Over time, though, those worries have faded. I’ve come to accept that my sense of smell is different now, that what’s still gone may never be coming back, and that I’ll probably never know if I’m back to “normal.”

For researchers like Reed, the prevalence of Covid-induced anosmia is a wake-up call that science and medicine need to take the sense of smell more seriously. She and her colleagues advocate for testing of taste and smell the same way we test for hearing and vision, and are at work on a new test to help doctors evaluate a patient’s sense of smell quickly and easily.

For Waters, the pandemic is a reminder to embrace our sense of smell while we have it. “Continue keeping your nose open,” she said. “We can’t take our ability to smell for granted.”

And for me, regaining smell is just another small way that I’m emerging, marked, from the last 20 months into whatever comes next.

I tried smelling Musc Invisible again as I was writing this story. I could definitely detect something: a kind of chemical sweetness, like bubblegum mixed with hydrogen peroxide. I don’t know if it’s the perfume itself or my still-wonky sustentacular cells, but I don’t care anymore. This perfume smells bad to me now. I’m going to throw it away.

Anna North

Source: My year of smells: How I regained lost smells after Covid – Vox

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How To Live To 100: A Definitive Guide To Longevity Fitness

At this point, we’re all familiar with the trope. A local news station visits a retirement home to celebrate Muriel’s 106th birthday. She’s deaf or blind or both or neither, sitting in a wheelchair in the “good spot” next to the TV set, and a reporter asks her her secret. You’ve lived through both World Wars?! How’d you do it? Then Muriel gets to flash a mischievous grin and tells us she smoked a pack a day for 50 years.

Interacting with centenarians in this way has long made them seem like circus oddities. It trivializes the concept of lifespan and longevity, reducing the science to a throw-your-hands-in-the-hair “Who the hell knows!” It reinforces the idea that our time on this planet isn’t necessarily under our control. If my dad had a stroke and his dad had a stroke then one’s probably coming for me too, right? If I make it to 80, or — god forbid — 90, I’ve just beaten the odds. Right?

Not exactly. Since the mid-1990s, in fact, following the infamous Danish twins study, researchers have understood longevity to be “only moderately heritable.” For a while, this spawned estimates that genetics accounted for somewhere between 20 and 30% of one’s longevity. More recently, scientists have concluded that the true heritability of human longevity at birth is closer to just 7%.

Where does that other 93% come from? Your lifestyle. Your decisions. Your everyday habits, big and small. It’s possible to put years on your life, to surge past both average life expectancy and your own expectations, by resolving to live a certain way. The crazy part? This doesn’t involve some complex Ponce de Leónian quest. You don’t even have to search far and wide for the answers.

Thanks to the efforts of vanguard sociologists, geneticists and historians, we know where the world’s largest concentration of centenarians live and how they spend their days. (They’re called Blue Zones, and the way people cook, move and even happy hour in them is truly revelatory.) We also know, courtesy of a renowned doctor with whom we spoke last year, that certain behaviors can decelerate cellular aging and push the human lifespan into hitherto uncharted territories, and also that we should probably stop eating hot dogs.

You might wonder: Why would I want to live longer? Doesn’t the end of life look drawn out, expensive and horrible? Why would I sign up for decades of suffering? Well, the latest wave of longevity research isn’t focused on living years for the sake of years. It’s concerned with quality years.

Think about it. More years to travel, to exercise, to spend time with your family and whatever new family comes along. An entire life of creativity and challenges to enjoy after retirement. And consider this: those who make it to 100 are no more likely to die at 108 years old than 103. Genetics do start to factor in a bit more once you get way up there in age (hence how the Muriels of the world make it to 106), but overall, your risk of dying from any of the usual diseases plateaus. Longevity wizards only really suffer in the last couple years of their lives.

Take note — this movement is going to happen, with or without you. With an assist from modern medical care, scientists project there will be 25 million centenarians scattered across the world by 2100. (There are currently just 573,000.) But you don’t need to wait for Benjamin Button patents from the big pharmaceuticals. You can start living in the name of longevity today.

Below, 100 ways to live to 100, broken down by how you optimize your lifespan through diet, fitness, good choices and some truly wild wild cards. Before diving in, understand that you can’t do all of them; some of them are likely even incompatible. But the idea is to cherrypick those that work for your life. Ultimately, if nothing else, know this: making the call right now to act in the name of longevity — whether your “right now” is 35 or 65 — won’t just add life to your ledger. It’ll enrich and lighten every year along the way.

DIETARY DECISIONS

1. Eat fresh ingredients grown nearby

The planet’s longest-living communities all have access to food from farms and orchards down the road — that’s to say, within a 10-mile radius of their homes. These ingredients aren’t treated with pesticides or pumped with preservatives; they’re their original nutrient-dense, fiber-rich selves. Sound expensive? So are late-life medical bills.

2. Eat a wide variety of vegetables

So you’ll eat carrots, beets and cucumbers and that’s it. Okay. But if you want to unlock your true longevity potential — and lower your risk of everything from cardiovascular disease to macular degeneration — you need to regularly cycle through the whole menu: cruciferous veggies, dark leafy greens, edible plant stems, roots and marrows.

3. Eat until 80% full

Hara hachi bu is a Japanese saying that translates to “Eat until you’re 80% full.” It’s an alien concept in America, where portion sizes are the biggest in the world and somehow getting larger. But finding your “slightly full” will directly reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke while giving your body more energy and less bloating in the short term.

4. Eat home-cooked family dinners

As the godfather of nouvelle cuisine, Chef Fernard Point, once famously said: “Butter! Give me butter! Always butter!” Restaurants want customers to leave happy, so they use lots of flavor — salt, sugar and fat. It all adds up. According to one study, eating out twice a day increases your chance of an early death by 95%. Cooking is your best bet.

5. Embrace complex carbohydrates

The bread aisle is a starting point for understanding the difference between foods rich in simple carbohydrates (Wonder Bread) and those rich in complex carbohydrates (100% whole-wheat breads). The latter, for instance, rocks a ton of fiber and fuels the body in a sustainable way. Seek out more complex carbs like brown rice, oats and barley.

6. Consider a plant-based diet

You don’t have to give up meat. But you should know that societies full of centenarians don’t eat very much of it. While meat dominates most American meals, it only appears in Blue Zone diets at a rate of five times a month, two ounces per serving. And when it does, it comes sourced from free-range animals that weren’t treated with hormones or antibiotics.

7. Substitute meat with fish

Keeping fish in the rotation not only takes pressure off your veggie cooking skills — it’s also a huge life-expectancy boon. One study found that “pesco-vegetarians” (who eat up to three ounces of fish daily) live longest, aided by omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. If you can, aim for non-farmed, mid-chain fish like trout, snapper and sardines.

8. Try not to eat just before bed

Your last meal of the day should be your smallest, and shouldn’t be eaten within three hours of heading to sleep. If you’re constantly pining for a huge dinner or bedtime snack, you’re probably not fueling properly throughout the day. It’s stress-eating dressed up as a reward, which leads to indigestion in the near term and weight gain over time.

9. Let yourself feel hunger

Don’t get bogged down with YouTube videos on “the right way to intermittently fast.” As renowned Harvard geneticist Dr. David Sinclair told us: “We don’t know the best method. We do know that if you’re never hungry,  if you’re eating three meals a day and snacking in between, that’s the worst thing you can do. It switches off your body’s defenses.”

10. Eat dark chocolate

Most people have heard this one. Dark chocolate is no elixir on its own, but cacao tree seeds are part of a family of environmentally stressed plants that “activate longevity pathways in other organisms when consumed.” Replace your cookies and cupcakes with a little square from time to time to reap the rewards of flavanols and resveratrol.

11. Make more PB&Js

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are having a moment. A few years ago, ESPN devoted a profile to the NBA’s “secret addiction.” Tom Brady revealed not long after that the PB&J is his pregame meal of choice. And this year, a study concluded that the sandwich can add 33 minutes to your life. Remember to use whole-wheat bread and all-natural jelly.

12. Eat more beans

The backbone of the centenarian diet. Beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins, and low in fat and calories. They fill you up as well as meat and cook easy (serve them on their own with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, or put them in a burrito or salad). David Buettner calls beans “the world’s greatest longevity food.”

13. Eat more nuts

Sure, you’ve heard it forever. That doesn’t make it any less true. One massive study that assessed nut consumption in approximately 119,000 Americans over 30 years found that regular nut-eaters (think a handful or two of almonds a day) reduced their risk of dying from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease by 20%.

14. Cook with olive oil instead of butter

Olive oil giveth, butter taketh away. While butter increases “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood (low-density lipoproteins), olive oil is a longevity rockstar — in one study, people in the highest quintile for ingesting olive oil’s polyphenols lived an average of 9.5 years longer after the age of 65. Just make sure you’re buying extra virgin olive oil.

15. Put a cap on fun foods

You don’t have to ban salty and sugary treats from your life forever, but recognize that — in order to avoid empty calories and reduce your risk of heart disease — they can’t happen every time you have a tough day at work. That’s a self-defeating choice. Save them for the right time and place, like special celebrations, when you’ll appreciate them the most.

16. Eat slowly

For one, choking to death would really hamper your longevity goal (about one in 2,500 people die each year from choking). But slowing down while eating is also a great way to avoid overeating. Remember — it takes up to 20 minutes for the stomach to process what you’ve eaten. Take deliberate bites. Honor the meal and the effort it took to make it.

17. Drink more water

Here’s the rule: your optimal H20 per diem is one-half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight. A 180-pound male, then, should aim for a little over 11 cups of water over the course of his day. There’s no need to exceed that (you’ll just piss it out), but reach it with regularity and your body’s command centers will repay you in kind.

18. Drink red wine at 5:00 p.m.

Like dark chocolate, red wine comes from a plant source that is rich in cholesterol-lowering flavanols. Some are wary of linking longevity to alcohol, but learning to moderately drink red wine can also recalibrate your relationship to the drug. Having a glass (keep it under three) at the end of the day, preferably with friends, is a stress-relieving behavior.

19. Drink tea every day

Green tea pops up everywhere in lifespan research. One famous study found that drinking the stuff three times a week pushes back your risk of “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.” If you’re a fan, take up to two cups a day. It makes sure those “cardioprotective” polyphenols stay in your body long-term.

20. Coffee is also a good idea

A stimulant with side effects like jitters and trouble sleeping can help us live longer? Indeed. The chemical compounds in coffee aside from caffeine — a wealth of antixodiants — have a positive impact on mortality, especially when consumed in copious amounts. Drinking multiple cups of coffee each day can help stem chronic diseases from Type 2 diabetes to Parkinson’s.

21. Try the Mediterranean Diet

If you pick up some of the dietary habits above — eat locally, sub fish, use olive oil — you’re already well on your way. Nutritionists are rightfully skeptical on today’s litany of fad diets, but the Mediterranean diet remains well-respected for its capability to alter microbiomes, improve cognitive function, limit risk of heart disease and promote longevity.

22. Let food be

We want food that fits our wacky preferences (separating yolks to make egg whites), has a lot of flavor (peanut butter with added sugar) or would look good on TikTok (deep-fried macaroni and cheese casseroles). But these concepts don’t square away with the traditions of long-living communities, who treat and cook whole foods as they’re naturally cultivated.

23. Stop drinking cow’s milk

Why can’t 68% of the global population digest cow’s milk? We’re not supposed to drink it. Milk — and dairy, at large — is too high in fat and sugar to justify its long-time anointment as the best place to turn for protein and calcium. At the very least, cow’s milk has no impact on longevity, so feel free to sub it for a more environmentally friendly alternative.

24. Know it’s never too late

One month of healthy eating will confer immediate results in the realms of cell regeneration, decreased inflammation and improved digestion. Starting young is great, but it doesn’t matter how old you are. Meet with your doctor beforehand to get your bloodwork done. Then come back after and note the changes, specifically in vascular health.

25. Stick to your dietary changes

Your body will rebel once you ditch your unhealthy ways for a few days. It will undoubtedly feel easier to go back to butter, processed foods and the two vegetables that you actually like. But note all the positive little changes — from your trips up the stairs to your trips to the bathroom. Eating healthy will change your life, then let you live more of it.

26. Sleep more than seven hours a night

Quality sleep is non-negotiable if you want to live a long, healthy life. Entertain a pattern of undersleeping, and exhaustion will seep into everything you do: exercise, diet, interpersonal relationships. Sleeping five hours a night doubles your risk of death. Try to log seven, and keep it right there. Too much sleep isn’t great for longevity, either.

27. Practice yoga

No surprises here. Yoga slows down the effects of stress on cellular aging. Multiple studies (see here and here) have sung the praises of just three months of dedicated yoga. The combination of physical effort, breathwork and meditation slows the tide of inflammation while balancing hormones (like cortisol) that cause chronic stress.

27. Meditate for 15 minutes a day

Even if you can’t commit to an intensive yoga practice, finding time each day to “quiet” your brain is likely a life-extending habit. When we stage personal interventions to decrease brain activity, the brain increases activity of RE1-Silencing Transcription factor, a protein that “allows the brain to function at a higher capacity with less strain.”

28. Schedule an annual physical

“Physician-dodging” is a disturbing status quo for men between the ages of 35 and 54. Only 43% of that middle-aged cohort reported seeing their doctors for annual physicals. Blame it on busy-ness (or more likely, a mix of toxic masculinity and unacknowledged vulnerability), but too often men are late to diagnoses and die earlier because of it.

29. Start strength training

“Functional fitness” takes on an entirely new meaning by age 70, at which point most of us have a lost a quarter of the strength we had at 30 and struggle to perform basic tasks. In fact, people with low muscle strength are 50% more likely to die earlier. Start strength training early and focus particularly on grip strength, which will aid you best in old age.

30. Move every day

Walking for just 11 minutes each day can tangibly protect the body from the mortality risks of hours spent sitting in front of a computer. Leaving the house for a walk each day — like drinking tea and eating beans — is something all Blue Zone communities share. Find a time of day that works for you and pencil in a daily constitutional, rain or shine.

31. Optimize your workplace

A dose of reality on all the longevity chat: most of us aren’t herding goats on a bluff over the Aegean. We spend most of the day answering emails. Within that less-than-ideal situation, make sure your screen is raised to eye level, your back is set against an ergonomic chair and your feet are planted against the floor. Spinal health is critical as you age.

32. Keep an active sex life

Or at the least, an active orgasm life, especially as you age. One Welsh study of men between the ages of 45 and 59 discovered that a “high orgasmic frequency” can lower mortality risk by as much as 50%. Regular sex with a partner, meanwhile, reduces stress and risk of prostate cancer, while lowering blood pressure and improving mood.

33. Hang from a bar for one minute a day

In the “text neck” era, a daily dead hang will bring mobility back to your shoulders. The practice decompresses the spine and builds strength in the upper back. One minute at a time is really hard, so feel free to break the challenge into multiple increments. Oh, and don’t be surprised when the move improves your grip strength, too.

34. Turn the volume down

Damage done to the ossicles is irreversible. Train yourself to listen to AirPods and the like on low volume. Pumping 90-decibel noise (80% of an iPhone’s allotted volume) into your ears for just 10 minutes will put you on the path to tinnitus. The effect this has on quality of life is likely why people with extensive hearing loss die earlier.

35. Breathe through your nose

When we breathe through the nose, the nasal passageway humidifies and pressurizes the air. It produces nitric oxide, a molecule that “screens” air particles before they make it to the lungs. Once there, the lungs have an easier, more efficient time circulating oxygen throughout the body. This isn’t an easy switch (more than half of Americans breathe through their mouths), but it’s worth it — the practice can increase lung capacity, which improves cardio-respiratory function.

36. Relax your jaw

“Bruxism,” also known as teeth grinding or jaw clenching, is a natural response in an age of constant anxiety, but it leads to terrible sleep and even tooth fractures. When you’re stressing, take extra care to put space between your teeth and focus on your breathing. And while sleeping, consider a nighttime mouth guard.

37. Exercise in the cold

Cold-temperature exposure turns white fat (the inflammatory fat linked to heart disease) into brown fat (the naturally occurring fat that produces heat) though a process called thermogenesis. Basically, your body has to burn more energy to stay warm, which jumpstarts your metabolism. Norwegian research suggests 120 minutes outside a week in winter.

38. Get off the toilet

According to the “hydromechanics of defecation,” it takes the average person only 12 seconds to do his or her business. But men often linger in the bathroom, to the point that it’s played for laughs in sitcoms. The habit is less than ideal: stretching across the seat inflames the veins of the anal canal and over time can lead to hemorrhoids.

39. Use sunscreen

When melanoma metastasizes, the five-year survival rate nose-dives from 99% down to 25%. Here’s an even crazier statistic: between 1995 and 2014, 60% of those who died from head or neck melanoma were men between the ages of 15 and 39. The sun is no joke; it can snatch life away early if you aren’t using sunscreen and scheduling regular screenings.

40. Take power naps

Careful — napping for more than an hour in the middle of the day has been linked to all-cause mortality. But a 15- to 30-minute “power nap” actually increases cognitive ability and alertness. It solidifies memories in the brain, relieves stress during an exhausting day and energizes afternoons for exercise or social interaction.

41. Pick up HIIT

One of the beauties of modern exercise? It can be quick. Like, really quick. In the past decade, studies have extolled the benefits of exercising for 15 minutes, four minutes … even four seconds. The rationale remains the same throughout: high-intensity, “all out” bursts of physical effort foster muscle growth, clean up arteries and put years on your life.

42. Learn to play again

The only thing that’s inherently “childish” about playing is that children are more likely to do it.  Playing, in whatever form it may take — tennis, pick-up hoops, chasing your kids with a super soaker — is essential for mental health at all ages, and a crucial deviation from exercise measured solely in pain and progress.

43. Worry less about weight loss

Wait, shouldn’t we make weight loss a priority? The issue’s a bit more nuanced. Studies indicate that overly stressing about weight loss often leads to “weight cycling,” defined as a process of losing weight only to regain it all over again. This strains the body. Focus on building sustainable practices instead of aiming to shed fat from your frame.

44. Screen for cancer regularly

This one piggybacks on both the issue of physician-dodging and the need for sunscreen. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, with lung, colon and liver cancer accounting for the most deaths. It’s imperative that you take it seriously. Start screening regularly at age 45.

45. Make sure to floss once a day

There’s a reason dental hygienists get so terse when you admit to only flossing “once in a while.” Flossing doesn’t just prevents gum disease. It can stop heart disease. When bacteria gets into the bloodstream through the mouth, arteries narrow in an immune response. This taxes vascular health. Flossing for two minutes directly influences life expectancy.

46. Practice sleep hygiene

That doesn’t refer to washing your sheets once a week. Sleep hygiene is “an upkeep of behaviors that help you sleep.” Essentially: treating the process around sleeping as sacred. Learn to keep a calm, cool, uncluttered, sleep-only bedroom and follow methods (from shutting down caffeine intake to getting blackout curtains), that shorten your sleep latency.

47. Start running

Running helps people live longer. That much is clear. But researchers concluded recently that the pace and distance of your run doesn’t necessarily matter. Any sort of running routine (up to four-and-a-half hours total per week) will lead to a 30% reduced risk in all-cause mortality. FYI: going over that amount won’t cause any harm. Just be wary of injuries.

48. Get into swimming

In the battle of cardio routines, though, swimming might take the cake. The activity is perfect for aging: it’s low-impact, burns a ton of calories, works the whole body and encourages flexibility. No wonder that over one 32-year study, swimmers were an amazing 50% less likely to die than regular walkers and runners. Time to fish out the goggles.

49. Forget the six-pack

Listen: chasing a six-pack is a waste of time that has no bearing on how long you’ll live on this planet. Overworking “show muscles” too often comes at the expense of a functional, full-body routine. Double down on a diverse workout scheme and a diet without non-processed ingredients and you’ll naturally arrive at a tighter core, anyway.

50. Ask for help

Recruiting a family member or friend for advice on your fitness journey — or hiring a personal trainer or scheduling a consultation with an exercise physiologist — is not a sign of weakness. It’s the ultimate sign that you’re ready for change, committed to turning your life around and determined to get more life out of it in the process.

51. Don’t ride a motorcycle

Motorcycles look great, but their mortality numbers don’t. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to have a fatal accident than car drivers. Even survival comes with a cost: 96% of motorcycle accidents result in injury.

52. Don’t take up BASE jumping

One of the bleakest databases you’ll ever see? The BASE fatality list. BASE jumping carries a risk up to eight times greater than skydiving. Its even more dangerous cousin, meanwhile — wingsuit flying — has a rate of one death per 500 jumps. Unsurprisingly, virtually everyone involved with the sport has a friend who died young.

53. Don’t eat processed foods

Foodstuffs with added sugar, sodium and fat are killing us all. Processed food isn’t supposed to be easy to give up (it comprises over half the “dietary energy consumed” in the United States and United Kingdom). But it’s critical that you cut back. Frozen pizzas, mayonnaise, Oreos and the like drastically increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

54. Don’t take hard drugs

Aside from the obvious in-moment risk of overdose (deaths from opioids and psychostimulants have been going up since 1990), chronic and high-dose drug use decelerate dopaminergic function. In simpler terms: most of the things you rely on for healthy living — motor control, motivation, arousal, etc. — become seriously compromised over time.

55. Don’t ingest tobacco

Not to sound like an elementary school health teacher, but it really is this simple. Right behind diet, tobacco use is the leading cause of “premature, preventable death” in the United States. And while we normally associate cigarettes with lung cancer, nicotine use can also cause cancer in the throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder and cervix.

56. Don’t smoke e-cigarettes

The majority of e-cigarettes have nicotine in them, but all of them have chemicals that will irritate your lungs. Consider: they contain propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin (which are toxic to cells), acetaldehyde, formaldehyde (which can cause lung or heart disease) and acrolein (a herbicide that’s usually used to kill weeds).

57. Don’t binge drink

The CDC: “A a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above.” Think seven drinks or so per binge, with several binges a month. Health experts unilaterally agree that this is a bad idea. One study even determined that drinking 25 drinks per week at age 40 can shorten life expectancy by up to five years.

58. Don’t eat hot dogs

Twitter had a lot of fun with this one, but it’s actually true — according to a recent University of Michigan study, eating a hot dog takes 36 minutes off your life. That doesn’t exactly compare to a single hit of heroin (24 hours off your life!), but it could put you in a bad cycle of salty, highly processed “meat.” Avoid them, or save solely for the odd ballgame.

59. Don’t have unprotected sex

While STIs are most definitely not more fatal than traveling in a car (as one group of volunteers misestimated in a study), they can cause infertility, urinary tract problems and half a dozen different cancers. Not to mention: unprotected sex can bring overwhelming mental stress to an activity that otherwise helps us stay healthy and happy.

60. Don’t drive under impairment

Every hour, someone dies from a drunk-driving incident in America. That’s over 30% of annual road deaths in the country. Even if you’re a responsible driver, remember to prepare for those who aren’t (always wear a seat belt!) and assess other ways you engage in distracted driving. Sending one text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds.

61. Don’t live in the middle of nowhere

Living close to nature decreases your risk of depression and obesity, indirectly adding years to your life. But there’s such a thing as too much solitude. Rural living can also mean a repressed social life, too much time in the car, relying on Walmart for food, fending for yourself during natural disasters and traveling over an hour for emergency medical care.

62. Don’t blindly pop OTC pills

We’re so accustomed to taking corner-store drugs like Tylenol and Advil that we can forget they’re, well, drugs. Always follow capsule instructions to a tee. The former contains Acetaminophen (which can cause liver issues in high doses), while the latter is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (which can cause gastrointestinal bleeding when taken improperly).

63. Don’t overeat

Calorie restriction can play a small part in adding years to your life, but unchecked calorie intake plays a very loud role in taking them away. The average American eats 3,600 calories a day (up nearly 25% from the 1960s), and the national obesity rate sits at 42.4%. Obesity coincides with common comorbidities like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

64. Don’t eat more protein than you need

The scientific research on this is pretty clear, as much as it may shock the biggest guy at your gym. A reduced protein intake “plays a critical role in longevity and metabolic health.” Most American men currently average twice the amount of protein they actually need in a day. That comes with too much IGF-1, a growth factor that accelerates aging.

65. Don’t stay in a stressful job

A study published in 2015 found that sticking with a tough job — with an unreasonable boss, little social support or looming layoffs — can literally take two years off your life. A paycheck is a paycheck, but when a job starts exerting massive mental stress over you, the body can’t tell if the initial trigger is mental or physical. It’ll fall apart either way.

66. Don’t hold a grudge

Happy people live longer. Improve your happiness by practicing “epistemic humility,” an intellectual virtue predicated on the idea that one can ever know something for sure. It’s meant to help us admit our imperfections and forgive others. Sounds too good to be true in the 2020s? All the more reason to give it a try.

67. Don’t blame your genes

When less than 25% of your genetics are accountable for your personal longevity, it doesn’t make much sense to deterministically pin your fate (or blame your behaviors) on what happened to your parents or grandparents. Learn your familial risks, yes, but approach your daily actions and decisions with confidence and hope.

68. Don’t sit around all day

Online publications really ran with the “sitting is the new smoking” tagline. Not quite, but sitting should be taken seriously as a public health issue. American adults sit seven hours a day, which disrupts the body’s ability to break down body fat, slows metabolism and elevates blood pressure. Get moving, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

69. Don’t doomscroll

New phrase for you? Doomscrolling is “excessively scrolling through news or social media feeds looking for negative updates.” It’s at the intersection of smartphone addictions, a terrible news cycle and our primordial need to anticipate danger. But this sort of behavior wreaks havoc on your mental health and (unsurprisingly) never solves anything.

70. Don’t binge-watch Netflix

A full eight years ago, 61% of Netflix users admitted to binge-watching content on the platform. We’ve added five major streaming services since then; each has a revolving door of content and most employ hyped full-season releases. While cranking through episodes feels like a reward, it causes eye strain, backaches, weight gain and sleep deprivation.

71. Don’t binge on screentime

American adults spend up to six hours on their phones each day. Some of those hours are spent doomscrolling, others pushing back sleep (66% of adults bring their phones to bed), and far too much of it involves poring over the airbrushed life updates of others. Little wonder Instagram has been likened to addictive painkillers by reputable researchers.

72. Don’t play American football

The “Should you let your kids play football?” became a culture war topic in the early 2010s on the heels of unprecedented CTE research. Honest answer: probably not. At least, avoid the full-contact version of the game, which has the highest concussion rate outside of rugby and can cause irreversible damage to the brain.

73. Don’t fool around in National Parks

Or state parks. Or the woods behind your house. Or any public lands where you can hike, swim and camp without a professional ranger on hand to help at a moment’s notice. People die constantly from drowning, falls, exposure, animal encounters … selfie sticks. The issue is more relevant than ever, as novice hikers flock to nature in the pandemic era.

74. Don’t mess with firearms

There are 120.5 guns for every 100 people in America. An insane 73% of homicides involve a gun.The disturbing truth is you can easily find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time in this country. Still, the least you can do is keep guns out of your home: 27,000 people go to the hospital for accidental firearm injuries each year.

75. Don’t ignore air quality

Dirty air kills more people than all transportation accidents and shootings combined, accounting for the premature deaths of one in every 25 Americans. Train yourself to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the weather app on your iPhone. Anything over 100 means the air “is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Your run can wait until tomorrow.

76. Check your household products

We knew we hated shampoo. Chemicals called phthalates are found in shampoos, fragrances, cleansers and plastics. When they get into the body, they reduce the body’s stress hormone cortisol, meddle with metabolism, negatively affect the reproductive system, and can lead to extremely preventable premature deaths.

77. Live with a purpose

The Okinawans say ikigai, the Nicoyans in Costa Rica say plan de vida. Each phrase translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Finding that “why” can feel random and frustrating, but it often brings people to pursuits and causes outside of themselves. And — science backs this up — once you believe your life matters, you get to live more of it.

78. Manage negative thought loops

Negative thought loops trick us into thinking we’re being productive (we psychoanalyze uncomfortable memories, prepare for imaginary dangers, relitigate life decisions), but in reality we’re just willingly drowning ourselves in a puddle of anxiety, activating a hormone-fueled “fight or flight” response that can’t be addressed in the given moment.

79. Have a plan after retirement

Not necessarily a financial plan, though that’s also a good idea. One surprising study displayed that working longer can help people live longer. Remember, jobs can be real-world lifelines for many — they offer social engagement, days out of the house, challenging projects. It’s important to have goals and communities for filling your time after retiring, too.

80. Pick up “forest bathing”

In Japan, shinrin-yoku refers to “forest bathing,” or the act of taking in nature using all of your senses. Recent studies show adults spend 93% of their time indoors, which takes a toll on mental health (“stir crazy” is scientific). But the exact opposite is true for spending time outdoors. A single forest “bath” decreases scores for depression, fatigue, anxiety.

81. Settle down near a body of water

Take a look at a map of the world’s Blue Zones. Each is concentrated along a coastline. Settling down by the sea — in a so-called “blue space” — has been linked to a 17% reduction in mortality rate. One study suggested that living within 250 meters of a seaside environment helps reduce stress levels, with the smell and sounds offering a “wonderful tonic.”

82. Play board games

People who regularly play non-digital games are more likely to score well on memory and thinking tests in their 70s, a study determined in 2019. Games like cards, chess and crosswords aren’t just stress-relievers; they aid in cognitive function and slow down cognitive decline. Fortunately, that holds true if you come to them later in life, too.

83. Join a team

Team sports are a longevity motherlode. They combine consistent social interaction, vigorous exercise and play, all of which convey dynamite benefits for your physical and mental health. One study even discovered that making an adult soccer league your primary mode of exercise (over solo activities like jogging) could add five years to your life.

84. Tell the truth

Another reason not to get into politics — lying takes years off your life. The emotional stress that comes from telling mistruths often manifests as physical stress. Whatever the momentary reward, lying increases your risk of anxiety and depression, can sabotage relationships over time and shatters your self-esteem.

85. Listen to live music twice a month

Take the fortnight frequency with a grain of salt (it comes from a study commissioned by British entertainment operator O2), but we do know that live concerts are mindful, socially rich experiences. Assuming you don’t need to binge drink or trip on acid every time you attend one, plugging concerts into the calendar each month is a great idea.

86. Take colder showers

Make like Ian Fleming’s James Bond and finish your showers with an ice-cold “Scottish” rinse. Up to a minute (after a morning workout) is best, if you can handle it. The ritual will lower blood pressure, stimulate your immune system and can even hack your mood, releasing happy neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine and serotonin.

87. Read before bed

According to one study from the Yale University School of Public Health, “people who read books for at least 30 minutes a day live nearly two years longer than non-readers.” Reading lowers heart rate and eases tension in the muscles, fosters empathy (especially if you’re reading fiction) and helps defeat insomnia. Start with a chapter a day.

88. Keep a journal

Personal journal-keeping can predict an astonishing 53% reduction in all-cause dementia risk. The action boosts your “cognitive reserve” in the long term while sharpening memory in the short term. Oh, and, taking notes with pen and paper is crucial; it makes it easier to summarize and retain information than taking notes with computers.

89. Embrace behavioral activation

The phrase refers to performing an activity that necessitates  presence of mind. Think: cooking, gardening, walking the dog. While these sound like chores, they’re actually back doors to positive thinking and productivity. It’s an effective treatment for depression and other mood disorders, whereas languishing only worsens symptoms.

90. Avoid social jetlag

Social jet lag occurs when the body’s sleep-wake cycle is suddenly thrown out of whack. When you choose to stay up late on a Saturday, you’re pushing the “midpoint” of your sleep forward. You then have to scramble back to your usual internal clock in time for Monday morning, which affects everything from body temperature to metabolism.

91. Learn a language

Similar to “eat a bowl of almonds,” we’ve all heard this one. But it’s also absolutely true. Bilingual brains age slower than monolingual brains, delaying neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s never too late, and don’t stress if fluency feels out of reach — the simple act of learning and studying a second language has a positive impact on the brain.

92. Show up to events

Researchers are convinced: “Social connections are probably the single-most important feature of living a long, healthy, happy life.” Showing up to functions with family and friends (as opposed to stressing out and skipping them) proves you can be a light, reliable presence in other people’s lives. The invites will keep coming, and you’ll be better off for it.

93. Maintain friendships

Swimming in centenarians, Sardinia was the first Blue Zone region ever identified. The island’s men have a habit of finishing each day at a local bar to talk with lifelong friends. In America, where 15% of middle-aged men report having no close friends, that sort of dynamic everyday interaction (whether at a bar or book club) could prove revelatory.

94. Make time to travel

Make time for vacation, first off — overworked Americans leave hundreds of millions of vacation days on the table each year in fear of looking replaceable to employers. Then use that time to actually go and see the world you’ve read so much about; taking just two trips a year raises feelings of contentment while lowering your risk of heart disease.

95. Visit museums

Or visit the ballet. Or visit some experimental art show that your friend’s friend is putting on (even if you have no interest). Those who afford themselves a regular “culture fix” have a 14% lower risk of passing away earlier than a typical lifespan. There is a correlation-over-causation argument to be made, but taking in art is always beneficial.

96. Find your spiritual side

You may want nothing to do with religion. But the findings are indisputable. People of faith people live longer, and in some cases, by up to four years. Congregations show up at the same time each week, they tell stories, they volunteer in their communities. From a longevity perspective, these rituals are extremely potent. It’s worth finding your equivalent.

97. Change your mind

Never in the history of the internet has anyone said “My bad, I’ve changed my mind.” Perhaps people should start. Challenging yourself to look past your imperfect point of view is a next-level stress-reliever that unshackles your entire mindset. Stop arguing in circles. Embrace that other people know things. Then live longer for it.

98. Have a family

It’s a good idea to grow old around younger people. Adults with at least one child tend to have more social interactions and lower mortality rates. On a somewhat less wholesome note, men who end up with younger partners also live longer, too. Younger spouses are a positive psychological influence, and more capable caretakers in the twilight years.

99. Summon some empathy

The whole of society is in an “empathy crisis” right now, so it’s okay if thinking of others takes a little extra effort. But monitoring and augmenting your empathic capacity isn’t just beneficial for your friends, family and colleagues — it’s associated with life satisfaction and positive “interaction profiles” (how you relate to others), regardless of age.

100. Celebrate aging

Not just in the birthday cake sense. Those who approach aging with a positive outlook end up aging easier than others. Proactively acknowledge what’s to come instead of fretting about the wrinkles under your eyes. Maybe you’ll make it to 100. Maybe you won’t. But your absolute best chance comes from living your best life along the way.

By Tanner Garrity @tannergarrity

Source: How to Live to 100: A Definitive Guide to Longevity Fitness – InsideHook

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