Living Longer AND Better

There’s so much conversation these days about how we’re living longer. And, if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to just live longer, you want to live vibrantly and healthfully for as much of that time as possible. So it comes as welcome news that there’s a new book, a guide of sorts, titled Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging, by Dr. Roger Landry. His book is premised on the findings of the MacArthur Study on Aging which actually dates all the way back to 1988. It was our first glimpse into how lifestyle changes can significantly impact health outcomes and how we age.

The book has an abundance of great information about how we can minimize our years of decline – how to keep disease, especially chronic disease, at bay – and truly gain many more years of healthful living. In the book, Landry outlines ten tips for making this happen. Most of them just make a whole lot of sense. We’re finally being told that there is real science around aging and that we can have an enormous impact on how to age successfully.

Similar to the awakening about how lifestyle changes can dramatically change outcomes for diabetes patients, this list lets us take much of aging into our own hands. Of course, life is full of twists and turns. Still, we can try to influence it. Landry tells us the tips are “the key to building the resilience you’ll need to weather life’s slings and arrows, or, if you prefer, life’s curveballs.” He cautions that even one weak link can leave us vulnerable to decline.

So here’s the list. I’ve added some extra insight from Landry to the first few items on the list but to really appreciate the information and to help you on this path, I strongly urge you to actually read the book Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging

#1: Use It or Lose It
If we’re not using our skills or faculties – whether intellectual, social or physical – they get rusty and eventually become unusable. Technology has made us sedentary. Even using a digital watch instead of analog can make us less thinking. So we need to do what we can to use all our parts and pieces, so we have the capability to be resilient when we need to be.

#2: Keep Moving
Landry tells us that a 2008 National Health survey found that 36% of adults were inactive, and that number rises with age. We also know that vigorous physical activity can stave off heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis and cancer (breast, colon, prostate). Our enemy is a sedentary lifestyle. So walk, run, swim, bike. Even go window shopping on a regular basis! Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Don’t order in lunch – go walk and pick it up.

#3: Challenge Your Brain
The science on brain health has changed dramatically over the last few decades. We now know that we can learn new things no matter our age. Our ability to do that is dependent on lifestyle factors – so, again, this list needs to be worked in tandem. Our brain needs physical activity, it needs to be challenged, it needs balanced nutrition and good sleep. Learn a new game, take a walk and try to identify different plants, start up a mahjong group or book club.

#4: Stay Connected

#5: Lower Your Risks

#6: Never “Act Your Age”

#7: Wherever You Are… Be There

#8: Find Your Purpose

#9: Have Children in Your Life

#10: Laugh to a Better Life

And in the spirit of the Seemingly60 community, let’s all work together on moving this forward by personally challenging ourselves to address the list in a real and meaningful way. Join us for the Challenge and watch the challenges grow!

Susan Ross

Susan Ross

Susan is founder/curator/blogger of Seemingly60.com, a site devoted to women approaching their 60s and beyond who are interested in benefiting from a community of women sharing their lives, experiences, learnings, and wisdom. Now is our time and we rock!
Susan Ross

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