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Thread: Life Extension Lifestyle 101

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    Lightbulb Life Extension Lifestyle 101

    To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. — Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)


    As far as science is concerned, the methods for extending our life span will be found in genetic engineering and we have not yet discovered the secrets. It helps to be born into a family where people have a long life span. Since people rarely die of old age, it would, of course, pay to keep ourselves free from disease, poisonous substances, and risk of fatal accident. As far as human wisdom and anecdotal evidence is concerned, there are many suggestions, some of which may have validity:


    Drink alcohol in moderation. Heavy drinking can cut down a lifespan by years. Do not use street drugs.

    Stop smoking. Smoking two packs a day cuts seven years from the normal life span.

    Eat nutritiously. Don’t eat too much sugar, fat, and highly processed foods. Eat a low-fat diet consisting of high fiber, fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The famous Framingham Heart Study concluded “When we eat a diet sparse in meats, fats, and sugar, we do a lot better.”

    Exercise, exercise and exercise. The one word that most life-extending experts agree upon is exercise, and they all recommend walking. Until the 1930s, exercise was a way of life for most Americans. We had to walk everywhere, maintain large vegetable gardens, chop wood, and keep house without appliances. These activities maintained most older people at an acceptable level of fitness. By the mid-1950s, the American lifestyle had become so sedentary that heart disease was epidemic. Physiologists have found that genuine fitness could be produced only by aerobic-type exercise. Those safe for older people include: walking, swimming, bicycling, and any type of rhythmic exercise performed at a moderate pace, but check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

    Maintain your weight at the normal level.
    Based on the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s height-weight charts, 33% of American women and 45% of American men are currently overweight. Research confirms that almost every healthy long-lived person has been lean and wiry and few have been overweight. Diets that lose weight only to gain it again are not considered healthy. The way to lose weight is to exercise and gradually cut out fats, sugars, and too much food. In other words, “change your lifestyle.”


    Get a good night’s sleep. If you can’t sleep, find methods to relax, increase your exercise time, and get involved in interesting activities–not television.

    Ignore your chronological age. Age is not the number of birthdays that have passed. It is an attitude, an awareness, a feeling. The ability to have the self-image of a younger person is characteristic of most long-livers. Youthfulness is focused on activity. So keep active and maintain a youthful attitude. Remember, “You’re only as old as you feel.”


    Learn to relax. Here are some suggestions:

    1. Deliberately slow the pace of your life.

    2. Live fully in the present moment.

    3. Do only one thing at a time.

    4. Don’t be too concerned about saying “no”; turn down demands on your time that stress you out.

    5. Learn to accept that if you cannot complete a job today that it’s acceptable to finish it later.


    6. Spend some time alone each day.

    7. To enjoy life to the fullest, learn to see, smell, touch, and feel everything around you right now. Develop a powerful will to live, and never give up. What most distinguishes long-livers from the rest of us is their indestructible capacity to rebound from misfortune and adversity.



    Make important goals. As soon as you achieve any goal, replace it with another immediately. Choose only goals that you can succeed in achieving. Otherwise, you are defining dreams, not goals.

    Be a success. Success is an essential component in creating a powerful will to live. We can readily experience the exuberance of success by making a list of small successes, each of which can be attained within 15 minutes, like cleaning your bicycle or the interior of your car. Achieving several small successes can fortify your will to live and make it easier to attain more important goals that can leave you flushed with the inspiration of success.

    Create a newer and stronger self-image. Think about your strengths and let yourself be forgiven for your weaknesses. Walk tall and erect with a quick step. Let yourself feel confident and optimistic about the future. Adopt a positive mental attitude; feel good about yourself and you will feel good about other people and life.

    Minimize stress in your life. Most stress is due to change, so it pays to subject ourselves to as few changes as possible. Live a systematic life in harmony with the rhythms of nature. People who live long usually rise and retire at the same time and have an orderly, somewhat routine, life. However, whenever physical changes are necessary, greet them with a flexible, accepting attitude.

    Eliminate harmful mental attitudes; turn to the good thoughts of life and forget the bad: Fear, anxiety, and worry are deadly killers that make it easier to get all kinds of disease and effectively destroy the quality of life we might have. The opposite of fear and worry is faith and trust. Take time to develop a belief in yourself, in life, and in the fellow travelers that come your way. People with an honest faith are not cheated anywhere near as often as those who are afraid. An ancient homily says: ”The things we fear are sure to come to pass.”

    Anger, bitterness, hostility, and resentment will drive happiness from our life and leave us with a profound depression. The opposite of anger and resentment is love and forgiveness. Start by forgiving, now and forevermore, anyone you believe may have caused you harm of any kind. Refuse to have any part of being unforgiving. People who are hostile have cardiovascular disease five times more often than those who are loving. So treat yourself to happiness and adopt a loving attitude. Don’t try to compete with other people. Keeping up with the Joneses is a continual drain on our emotions and energy. Compete only with your own excellence. Learn to excel at something, then attempt to beat your own best performance. And be willing to share your expertise with others. Nobody can win unless we all win.


    Lead a fun life; laugh a lot.
    Investigations by Norman Cousins and others have demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of fun and laughter in promoting health and long life. Few long-livers take themselves too seriously. They laugh often at themselves and their mistakes. They maintain a youthful enthusiasm for anything new and different. And they possess an almost childlike enthusiasm for spontaneous fun and play.


    Be a loving, generous person. Researchers who have observed groups of longevous people report that virtually every long-liver is generous, kind, loving, and unselfish. Dr. Solomonovich, a Russian gerontologist who spent long periods living in close proximity with the long-lived Abkhasian people in the Caucuses, reported that he had never heard any long-lived person use a harsh word.

    To be a loving person means that we accept other people the way they are without criticizing or judging them or trying to manipulate or change them. To achieve this level of unconditional love we must first let go of any artificiality or pretension, which so often separates us fromothers. This liberates us to tell the exact truth at all times and to reveal our deepest inner feelings. Through revealing our innermost feelings we immediately become closer to others. Loving people are emotionally transparent, with nothing to hide.


    Avoid living alone. People live healthier and longer lives in the presence of close and loving relationships. Studies from around the world show that loneliness is a major threat to health and long life. Virtually every gerontologist agrees that we can extend life significantly by creating a compatible and stable marriage with accompanying family life, and by cultivating many friends and being active in a number of social organizations.

    Maintain monogamous sexual activity regularly through life. Regular sexual activity with one permanent partner has been estimated to extend life expectancy by at least two years. Almost all healthy long-lived people stay married and enjoy regular lovemaking until the end of their days. Those who are unable to have sex past 50 usually are not well or are engaging in anti-health habits.

    Keep growing. Long-lived people are an independent and adventuresome lot who are not afraid to take an occasional prudent risk to succeed. But they see no reason to endanger their lives and health by exposing themselves to unnecessary risks. We become old on the day we stop growing and we stop growing on the day we become unwilling to take a prudent risk. People stop growing by dropping out of the mainstream of life, thoughts, and ideas, and by seeking safety in the status quo. Numerous studies have shown that ceasing to grow is synonymous with physical atrophy and mental withdrawal.

    Stay mentally active throughout life.
    A series of studies show that an active mind is man’s greatest resource against aging. People live longer when they use their intelligence and education to acquire and practice wisdom. At all socioeconomic levels, intelligent people tend to use their minds actively and constantly all their lives. Although the mind ages more slowly than any other organ, without constant use it can atrophy and our memory can begin to lapse.


    Believe in and rely on a higher power. Investigations are showing that all forms of spiritual belief and faith exert a powerful benefit on health and long life. In a study of 1,000 long-lived Americans, the Committee for an Extended Life-span found that almost without exception, every single longevous person has strong spiritual beliefs. The same study found that over 50% of all long-livers turn their problems over to a higher power and they rely on this same power to guide them toward the best possible solution. While their faith safeguards them from stress, they are able to relax and enjoy living.

    Continue to work at a satisfying job for as long as possible. When the National Institute of Health made an 11-year investigation of 600 possible variables that contribute to longevity, they found that the degree to which a person derives satisfaction from his or her job is the greatest single factor affecting longevity. Work makes us who and what we are. Work is life and life is work. To not work can be totally destructive. No one can live healthfully knowing their talents are not needed. Many people who retire at the age of 65, die within a few months unless they are able to pick up some meaningful hobbies, or volunteer work, or change occupations.

    Scientists who have studied work response at all levels have concluded that only by working at a job with the following qualities can we expect to enjoy optimum health and long life.


    o We should be free to make all or most of our own decisions. We should be under no one’s authority or supervision. The closer we are to being our own boss, the better.


    o The job should make maximum use of our abilities, skills, and talents. An underutilized person is invariably frustrated.

    o The job should allow us to reach a position of eminence in our chosen field. We should be able to rise through promotion to a position of authority and responsibility.

    o We should be able to work at our own pace free of all deadlines and pressures.

    o Successful work leaves no stress scars. Enjoyable and satisfying work cannot be distinguished from play.

    o The job should allow us to do our very best work and to take pride in the work we do. It should encourage us to reach out for high achievement by being ready to tackle challenging new tasks that we have never done before and that, in the process, provide a feeling of success and accomplishment.



    We should be able to continue to work without any pressure to retire for as long as we wish. Happiness and longevity are a choice. If we choose to live well and live happy, we have chosen to live long
    !


    Source: unknown

  2. #2
    Senior Member thoughtcrime's Avatar
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    Interesting article. Still, I reject the concept of living as long as possible as selfish and contra nature. Many of us already become way too old, living on for decades long after they have become mere shadows of what they once were. The old and weak should die in time so the young can live free of this burden. I dread a possible "methusalem society", and I see it as one of my life's goals to die in dignity, before I become helpless and weak.
    "Lever dot as slav."

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    Great article. I spent 10 years apprenticing under a man, and had the honor to meet the man he apprenticed under for 15. He was in his 70's then but was more lively and spry than most in their 20's. He stood over 6' and was typical WASP. He was married to his wife for over 50 years and became a master craftsman working on many multi-million dollar estates. He was the type of man who commanded your attention, his voice was roaring and when he shook your hand his grip was firm and his pale blue eyes were piercing. He did not walk aimlessly, he stomped around in his cowboy boots. His every move demonstrated purpose. He never wasted time nor actions.

    His list of accomplishments is long but what awed me was knowing that from the time he retired at 68 till in his 80's he never stopped. In the 10 years I knew him he built 3 more houses doing almost all of the carpentry work himself, from framing to cabinetry. Nothing stopped him, rain, snow he didn't care, every day he had a goal, and he did not quit till he reached it.

    I remember his shop, it was always filled with work. If he had no work he created work. He was never idle. He never bothered with memorizing details, he simply wrote them down in his reference book, that was always in his shirt pocket. He was opinionated but refined. He did not hesitate to point out your faults but at the same time he was genuine. He called a spade a spade and an a** an a**.

    He did many things in his life, working in many trades and owning many businesses but his passion was working with wood which he did not pursue until his mid 40's. One day, I asked him what kept him working (he was then close to 80) and he said to me "what do you mean work, this is nothing but play to me, work is something I did 50 years ago." He said this when he was working on trimming a house that would take him and two helpers over a year to finish. Just the trim, mind you. Plus he built the cabinetry.

    One thing I learned is he did not believe in savings. "If he earned a dollar he would spend it" my boss would say. "Yet he was never in need and I know of no one who lived a fuller life." He loved his wife and children immensely and I learned that she was the true motivation for him, not money. Sadly, when she passed away, he sold his shop and tools and moved to Texas to live with his son. The fire had gone out, but what a testament to the truth of this article.

    Today, I wonder how many men he has inspired in his travels and with his many stories and I wonder how 'old Norm' is doing.

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    Senior Member rainman's Avatar
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    Same here. I don't understand the obsession with living forever. I think it is a manifestation of the sickness of society. I value quality over quanitity though I think most of these things will also help you live a better quality life. I would also suggest meditation.

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    I think the gist is that quality and quantity are the same, unless you are a hedonist or a glutton. As long as one can remain active and have his wits about them, why not live a long life? My aunt just turned 95 and does quite well.

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    Senior Member rainman's Avatar
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    I honestly have no fear of death. I will avoid death and fight for my life when challenged I think that is a natural instinct but I have no need to live forever. I also see a lot of old people who really have nothing going for them in life and no matter how well you take care of yourself your mental physical abilities decline in old age. As people live longer and longer and are retired and living off the community they suck up resources that could be used for their children, grandchildren and folk in general. There should be a healthy balance between young, middle aged, old. Our race is becoming a race of old people. We are giving up children so we can have better retirements and live to be 100. I'd rather enjoy life, accomplish something and give something to my folk and die younger than live forever.

    When I'm old if I feel my life is unfullfilling and unproductive I'll probably take my own life. Life for the sake of living is an incompatible philosophy with me (but held by most people). For example keeping alive vegetables on a hospital bed, invalids, criminals etc. A lot of 100 year olds lie in bed all day p*ssing and sh*tting themselves while being taken care of by a full time nurse. Yet they are so afraid of death they will cling to their miserable worthless life for as long as possible. That's what we mean when saying it doesn't mean much to live long. For me my immortality is in my deeds, my memory and my blood.

    "better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep" Mussolini

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    Of course it's all about healthy life extension; there's no point in extending the life of "vegetables" and mentally apathetic people. There are many ways to look at it... Someone who has lead a long and intense life usually has a lot of knowledge and wisdom that he could share and contribute to society with. There are quite a few examples of 80+ people doing their best for their local communities or for humanity as a whole.

    The retirement years are usually the ones when one has the most time and willingness to contribute to society (being more detached from the hedonism of the youth). Someone said "An old man who dies is like a burning library". I would just add: an intelligent one, of course. If only by helping educating his grand-children in the right way, a healthy elderly person can be of great value to society.

    "Life extenders" do not necessarily need to be a burden on the public finances either; the reasonably smart and capable person usually saves and invests for himself and his family, he's not relying onto the collective retirement system for his old age or for his children's education. With the logic of compound interest, any additional year lived into old age does earn much more money in interests than several of the earlier years.

    Since healthy life extension requires intelligence, persistence and discipline (quite the same virtues as for saving and investing), not everybody is going to live longer. So those who will, will also probably have the means to sustain themselves.

    Currently there are 2 trends: on one side there are always more people getting into drugs, alcohol, junk food, and poor health habits in general and on the other side, there is an increasing number of people choosing to practice a holistic lifestyle, using all the knowledge we can now gather from the internet. The world keeps getting both better and worse, it all depends where we look and how we look at it.

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