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:
- Abstain from smoking
- Weight management
- Control blood pressure
- Regular exercise, and
- 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! 😦