Extreme Longevity – Supreme Health
Living Past 100 in Optimal HealthAug 2nd, 2012 | By Nancy Andrews | Category: Coach Nancy - The Way I See It..., Living the Fit Life
How long can we humans live with abundant, supreme health?
I’ve been thinking about this lately – which may be partly due to watching too many 100+ birthday announcements on the Today show – and partly due to having to care more for my 80 year old mom. And maybe it’s because at 53, I’d like to think I’m only half way through my own life journey.
After doing a bit of research, I’ve found that the maximum lifespan of humans is about 120 years. I got to that number by looking at the lifespans of the top three verified longest living humans who were 122+, 117+ and 117. All three were women and all three lived on their own for up to 110 or older. (Don’t worry too much men, I’ve found several men living until 114 – 115+, still way longer than the published averages.)
Now that’s pretty awesome!
The thing is that none of these women did anything particularly focused on health. So we can chalk their longevity to good genes and also, perhaps, living much of their lives in a time when there was a lot less toxicity in their environments and more movement required in everyday living. So consider what we are capable of if we worked to improve our longevity through our healthful choices.
While all of you who are regular readers here know that I’m a big fan of exercise – and always will be – I feel that the path to extreme longevity may be somewhat more focused on diet. To that end, I’ve been taking my diet to new highs in terms of clean, highly assimilated super nutrition.
I’ll be publishing a new series of posts to talk about specifics of what is in my diet but before we get to that, let’s focus on some simple guidelines…
Rule #1: You can’t expect to live a long, healthy, independent life if you continuously poison your body.
Now this may seem obvious but I find often when I urge my clients to buy near 100% organic or clean food (food free of pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics) I get a push back that it’s too expensive. Of course it’s more expensive than the toxic but cheaper alternatives you can find at any grocery store but what’s the point if you are undermining your health. Any illness you incur is expensive – even a head cold. It extracts a price in terms of feeling bad and having all energy drained from your body and you typically treat it with drugs which are not cheap. And that’s just a cold! Consider major disease like cancer. No matter how good your insurance is, cancer treatments can drain a family’s entire savings.
Rule #2: You need to exercise regularly if you want to be physically fit in your ‘golden’ years.
Another obvious statement but also one ignored by most adult Americans. Exercise need not require lengthy sessions in a gym but do need to be consistent. Doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 or 6 days a week is all that is needed to make a huge difference in how you are able to move when older. My preference is that the exercise routines focus primarily on strength training (weight lifting), balance and flexibility (as in yoga). When I look at my mom, she goes for 2 walks a day (with her dogs) which is better than most 80 year olds but imagine how much robust her life could be if she added strength training and yoga.
Rule #3: Routinely learn something new.
Expand your intellectual boundaries while keeping your brain working at it’s best. Ideas include crossword puzzles, learning a foreign language or some new trade. My aunt who lived until 89 used to take classes at community colleges to learn things like creating stained glass windows (and made quite a few beautiful windows).
None of these guidelines is groundbreaking. Most of this has been recommended as an outcome of established studies and is quite easy to implement in our lives once we make superior health a priority. These are the rules I live by and I can tell you that I am more fit, more healthy (can’t remember the last time I was sick), and more happier than I am now. So join me and see how wonderfully your life can change.
My next segment will explore specific diet changes I’ve made so stay tuned!