Five Easy Steps to an Exceptionally Long life!

Good genes certainly help in living a long life. But alas, we don’t get to control them. A recent study (Original Article; NYT article) tracked more than 2000 elderly men (ave 72 years) for up to 25 years. Based on those who survived to age 90, the authors identified five factors that we can control.

Five Easy Steps to an Exceptionally Long life:

  1. Abstain from smoking
  2. Weight management
  3. Control blood pressure
  4. Regular exercise, and
  5. Avoid diabetes

Not very surprising! It’s not that those long-lifers got less ill, but they became ill a little later in life, and were better able to deal with the diseases and survive.

Not only did survivors enjoy healthier lifestyles, more than two-thirds described their health as “excellent” or “very good;” and they were mentally with-it! And sadly, smokers had worse physical function coupled with a decrease in mental function as they aged. Don’t expect the tobacco industry to put this in their cool ads! Interestingly, low cholesterol levels and social drinking of alcohol were not associated with increased life span. Even though they studied men, these finding certainly hold for women as well.

So stub out and join me for a run!

BTW, did I mention that survivors in their 90s had a higher incidence of arthritis? This may be partly related to their vigorous activity. So those knee aches may be with me for a while! 😦

10 thoughts on “Five Easy Steps to an Exceptionally Long life!

Add yours

  1. Mona:
    Agree completely that fate does play a role – but those things can not be controlled by us. Another factor is genes; if your parents have lived long, then there is a good chance you will too! Even that we cannot change.

    But there are things that WE can change! That was the point of this article. The behaviors that we can modify to lead a healthy life.

    … and perhaps appease fate by leading a moral life. :-))

  2. Well, Arun, ofcourse, i believe that the above said points are vital for a healthy life, but for a longer life, i think, its just your luck, or your fate 🙂 What do you think?

  3. heh heh Make sure Krish follows the five steps and you both can have many kids and grand kids and great grand kids and have a blast!

    And while you are at it: keep writing beautiful anecdotes on your blog and posting awesome, mouth watering recipes on your blog!

    and you know, I’ll be there to read them all!


  4. hey, i follow all 5 steps. that means i am gonna have long life… yippy… he he he… but what am gonna do with that long life. u got me wear my thinking cap arun 😉

  5. Saroj:
    Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment.
    Agree completely! I think alcohol tends to ‘relax’ you, relieve stress and thus may have a role to play (in moderation) in improving cardiovascular health. The red wine seems to have additional ingredients which are beneficial.

    Haven’t figured out about the smoking thing yet – Perhaps the tobacco companies have the advertising down to a science! We should tax the bezesus out of cigarettes! and make it criminal to smoke in public. *evil grin*

    do something with your MPH!

  6. Yea I never quite understood how alcohol consumption prolongs life. It’s such an effort for the body to metabolize it, and it’s pretty much treated as a poison. It’s mostly the antioxidants they tout, and that too, it’s found in few alcoholic drinks. I can drink pomegranate juice and be just as well off, and I don’t have to watch how much I drink!

    Low cholesterol is ok, but not too low. I think that’s because cholesterol is a precursor for several hormones and neurotransmitters, so not enough cholesterol could spell hormonal trouble and depression.

    Smoking is just profoundly stupid, to paraphrase the words of one of my professors at Cornell. Smoking is just all negatives and no positives. Some people just don’t get it.

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