This is a kind of follow-up blogpost to The Longevity Quiz (what can I say. I just recently turned fifty and have been thinking about this subject)
Today I ran across an article from Health magazine.
Apparently those born after the year 2000 are more likely than ever to live to 100, according to research from Denmark. Good news for the kids, but what about us grown-ups?
Genetics do play a big factor in how long you live (thank you grandparents), but only somewhere between 20% and 50%, depending on the experts you ask. That still leaves over 50% up to YOU!
Walter Bortz II, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford, suggests how you can improve your odds of a long and happy life.
We can call this The Walter Bortz II, MD, Secrets to a Long Life:
Bulk up on fruits and veggies, +5 years (plant based whole foods diets reduce disease)
Exercise five days a week, +2 to +4 years (move and elevate your heart rate for a half-hour a day, minimum)
Reduce stress, up to +6 years (from meditation to music to movement to art therapy. Find something that work for you.
Get a hobby, +2 years (provides a sense of accomplishment.)
Floss, +6.4 years (removing harmful bacteria reduces stroke and heart attack risks.)
Vacation, +1 to +2 years (leisure is a great stress reliever!)
Sleep seven to eight hours nightly, +2 years (sleep assists cell repair.)
Have sex, +3 to +5 years (releases feel good hormones and burns about 200 calories, too!)
Thought you would like to know!
I know that I will not live forever, but maybe, just maybe, I can make some lifestyle changes that can influence how long I do live. Most importantly I would like those years to be healthy and as active as possible.
Over the past few years I have been reading some of the work that Thomas Perls, MD has been doing with centenarians at Boston University. He has written many books, papers and articles all about the topic of longevity. He recently developed this quiz based on the latest research on what factors help lengthen a person’s life. (this quiz is recently published in Health Magazine so it’s focused a bit more towards women, but men will learn from this too) Thomas Perls, MD is the real deal and I have the highest respect for the work he has been doing.
So spend a few minutes and take this quiz. Once you figure out your number, examine your numbers to figure out on how some simple changes can potentially add years to your life. This is kind of interesting quiz and do make you think about your own health. Give it a shot. And yes, you can make some small changes in your life that can make a difference.
1. When you’re stressed, how do you handle it?
a) Very well. I thrive on it and find it motivating.
b) Pretty well. I have regular healthy outlets, like yoga, walking, or calling a friend.
c) Not so well. It’s hard for me to let problems and worries go.
2. How often do you do things that keep your brain sharp, like learning a language, playing chess, or solving crosswords?
1) A couple of times a week.
b) Between once a week and once a month.
c) Rarely or never.
3. Do you spend time with friends on a regular basis?
a) Yes, I have lots of friends, and I’m very social
b) Yes, I have a small circle of close friends whom I enjoy spending time with
c) No, I usually either go it alone or spend time just with my partner
4. Have any of your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles lived to be 97 or older?
c) Don’t know
5. Do you have a brother, or sister with a history of heart attack or diabetes?
c) Don’t know
6. How much do you exercise?
a) 30 minutes at least five times a week
b) Some, around twice a week, and/or I regularly do something active like gardening or walking
c) Rarely or never
7. Are you at a health weight? (go to health.com/healthy weight calculator if you’re not sure.)
a) Yes, I’m within my ideal weight range.
b) Pretty close. I’m a bit above what the the charts say I should be, but I’m energetic and don’t have any weight related health problems.
c) No. I am well above my ideal weight, and I get sluggish and out of breath quicker than I’d like.
8. Do you smoke?
9. Do you floss?
a) every day
b) Once in a while
10. How often do you eat red meat?
a) 4 times a week or more
b) 2 or 3 times a week
c) Once a week or not at all
11. Did you have a child without fertility assistance after the age of 38, or did you stop getting your period completely after the age of 54?
(If you’re too young for either of these questions or don’t have children, pick “b”
12. Do you have a primary care doctor you trust whom you’ve seen in the last year?
b) No, but I see my gyno each year
13. How would you describe your sleep?
a) Great. I sleep enough so that I wake up feeling clearheaded and rested.
b) Could be better. I don’t get enough sleep, and I’m often tired during the day.
c) Not so great. I try to sleep, but I have insomnia sometimes or often.
KEY: For women start with the number 89 and add or subtract based on your answers. Males would start with 86.
1. a) 0 b)0 c)-5
2. a)+5 b)+2 c) 0
3. a)+5 b)+2 c) 0
4. a)+10 b)0 c) 0
5. a)-3 b)0 c) 0
6. a) 0 b)-2 c) -5
7. a) 0 b) 0 c) -8
8. a) -15 b) 0
9. a) 0 b) -3 c) -3
10. a) -5 b) -5 c) 0
11. a) +5 b) 0
12. a) 0 b) 0 c) -3
13. a) 0 b) -2 c) -2
Your potential age = years old.