Longevity Quiz for You

March 7, 2011 by  
Filed under health

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?
a) Yes
b) No
c) Don’t know

5. Do you have a brother, or sister with a history of heart attack or diabetes?
a) Yes
b) No
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?
a) Yes
b) No

9. Do you floss?
a) every day
b) Once in a while
c) No

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”

a) Yes
b) No

12. Do you have a primary care doctor you trust whom you’ve seen in the last year?
a) Yes
b) No, but I see my gyno each year
c) No

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.

The Green Buddha

August 10, 2010 by  
Filed under people oomph! videos

The Green Buddha from oomphTV on Vimeo.

Acting Your Age with oomph!

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

I just read in the New York Times an article called “Turn 70, Act Your Grandchild’s Age,” which plays into the notion that some of us expect 70 year olds to act like you should be 20 not 70. This article makes me think of the work we do here at oomphTV. I hope we don’t give the false impression that you must act like a 20 year old to have oomph!

Accepting your age and your limitations, while still doing what you want (and being realistic about what you can do) is part of the message of oomphTV. And a big part of having oomph! is simply enjoying and celebrating life, no matter what you can and can’t do. After all, life is short and let’s simply enjoy what we can while we are here.

Recently Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday by playing at the Radio City Music Hall and saying his new hero is BB King, who still jams in his 80s. They will be followed by Bob Dylan (“May you stay forever young”) and Paul Simon (“How terribly strange to be 70”) who still both perform and write music.
Dr. Butler, a psychiatrist, died, at age 83, a few days before Ringo’s big bash. No one, his colleagues said, had done more to improve the image of aging in America. His work established that the old did not inevitably become senile, and that they could be productive, intellectually engaged, and active, sexually and otherwise. His life provided a good example: He worked until three days before his death from acute leukemia.

But as much as Dr. Butler would have cheered an aging Beatle onstage, his colleagues said he would have also cautioned against embracing the opposite stereotype, the idea that “aging successfully,” in his phrase, means that you have to be banging on drums in front of thousands or still be acting like you did at 22 or 42.

“The stories that we hear tend to pull us toward the extreme,” said Anne Basting, the director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. “It’s either the stories of young-onset Alzheimer’s, or it’s the sky-diving grandmas. We don’t hear enough about the huge middle, which is the vast majority of folks.”
In the film and television business, the business I’m in, Clint Eastwood is still directing films at 80 and Betty White is now starring in a new sitcom at 88 (I worked with her on “Ugly Betty” and she was amazing) The pressure for 70 and 80 year olds is not to face mortality, but to kick up those slightly arthritic heels ever higher.

In the eighth decade, said Dr. Basting, is “now seen as an active time of life: you’re just past retirement, that’s your time to explore and play mentally.” But while many will be healthy, others will not. “There will be an increase in frailty and disability because people are living longer,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a demographer at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studies aging. For some people, an increased risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s “is going to be the price they pay for extended longevity,” he said.

The risk, gerontologists say, is that in celebrating the remarkable stories, we make those not playing Radio City, and certainly those suffering the diseases that often accompany old age, feel inadequate.

Thomas R. Cole, director of the McGovern Center for Health, Humanities and the Human Spirit at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the author of a cultural history of aging, said “We’re going to make it look like if you’re sick, it’s your own fault. If you’re not having orgasms or running marathons, there’s something wrong with you.
Here at oomphTV we don’t want to just portray “aging extremes,” but also inspirational people that fall somewhere in the middle. If we simply profiled extremes we would run into the possibility of alienating everyday people.

We did produce a story on Jack Kirk – The Dipsea Demon, the 94 year old runner. He could be considered one of those extremes. However, we also profiled Alice and Richard Matzkin. Both Alice and Richard Matzkin express themselves through their art, one by painting and the other by sculpting. They are not running any foot race, but clearly they have oomph!
In addition, we are currently in post-production on “The Green Buddha”, a wonderful story about my sister, Dana Dowell Windatt, and my own mother, Jeanne Dowell, that have started a new apparel business, based on gratitude. My mother has just turned 80 and was the original inspiration behind oomphtv.com She is not running a marathon or doing trapeze, but she is still doing what she wants to do at 80 years of age.

We are looking for different kinds of stories about people over 40 and sometimes way over 40 that have oomph! However, we do want to include stories of people that do have limitations. If you know of any, please write to us.

I hope we have found the right balance. Please feel free to write us and let us know what your thoughts are. We want to continue to inspire and inform, but not alienate our audience.

Large Smile, Long Life

April 1, 2010 by  
Filed under health

Don’t you appreciate people that have a big smile? Now you even appreciate them even more.  Studies suggest that we can learn from those that smile and smile big.

Science has just uncovered a big benefit of a happy face. People who have big smiles live longer. People who smile also are usually happier, have more stable personalities, more stable marriages, better cognitive skills and better interpersonal skills, according to research.

Researchers at Wayne State University used information from the Baseball Register to look a photos of 230 players who debuted in professional baseball before 1950. The players’ photos were enlarged and a rating of their smile intensity was made (big smile, no smile, partial smile). The players’ smile ratings were compared with data from deaths that occurred 2006 and 2009. The researchers then corrected their analysis to account for other factors associated with longevity, such as body mass index, career length, career precocity and college attendance.

For those players who had died, the researchers found longevity ranged from an average of 72.9 years for players with no smiles (63 players), to 75 years for players with partial smiles (64 players) to 79.9 years for players with big smiles (23 players).

This isn’t a bunch of psycho-hooey, the authors said. Smiles reflect positive emotion. Positive emotion has been linked to both physical and mental well-being. They added a caveat to their study, noting: “The data source provided no information as to whether expressions were spontaneous or in response to a photographer’s request to smile.” Still, big smiles are more likely to reflect true happiness than partial smiles.
The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

Six Ways You Can Get oomph!

January 30, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

Many of us want to find creative ways of getting oomph! We all know we will not live forever, but how do we live into a ripe old age with plenty of zeal, energy, vitality, inspiration or shall we say…oomph!

Some of this information I received from various studies listed below and from health expert Joel Weber, who writes for Men’s Health magazine.

Personally, I think there are many ways to get oomph!, but here are 6 different key ways you can get oomph! and maybe even stick around a long time:
Exercise – I know, I know, maybe we all know this and maybe it’s boring to keep hearing about. But, I will tell you this, it also happens to be true. In fact just this month four studies were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that show us that if you want to stay physically and mentally healthier in old age then better start or continue exercising. According to a study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham And Woman’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, women who exercised more during middle age had lesser chances of developing a serious disease after 70. Second study stated that there was improvement in attention spans and conflict resolution skills by a year of resistance training. A third study found that people age 55 or more who were into a moderate or high physical activity were able to fight cognitive impairment better.

Maintain Good Weight – The fat you carry today could kill you tomorrow. And if you do maintain good body-mass index (BMI) you can feel better. I know you can feel better, because I lost over 25 pounds last year and I do feel better. University of Alabama researchers discovered that maintaining a body-mass index of 25 to 35 can shorten your life by up to three years. Excess body fat raises your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. In one landmark 2007 study, men with a 5-point increase in BMI – about 30 extra pounds on a 5’10 guy –had testosterone levels comparable to men who were a full decade older. Women need to watch their BMI, too. Research also suggests that women gaining more than 20 pounds from 18 to midlife doubles the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

Eat More Vegetables – I know, I’m not really using my imagination here on how to get oomph am I? What can I say, eating vegetables and good raw ones can give you a boost and expand you life. Italian researchers have found that eating as little as one cup of raw vegetables daily can add two years to your life. Why raw? Cooking can deplete up to 30 percent of the antioxidants (the stuff our bodies love) in vegetables. That said, sautéing or steaming them is far better than not eating them at all. If you consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, you have a 26 percent lower risk of stroke than people who eat fewer than three servings, according to one British study.
Eat Some Nuts – When Loma Linda University researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 34,000 Seventh-Day Adventists – a population famous for its longevity—they discovered that those who munched nuts five days a week earned an extra 2.9 years on the planet. ( watch the oomph profile on Jack Kirk – The Dipsea Demon. He was Seventh-Day Adventist ) Not surprisingly, nuts are one of the healthiest snacks you can have. High in monounsaturated fats and protein, they help keep your arteries clean and your stomach feeling full.

Okay here are two ways to get oomph! with a little more imagination:
Don’t Forget Your Friends – Studies show that good friends can help extend your lifespan. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and ages cells more quickly – ultimately shortening life-spans – but friendships can act as a buffer against stresses of everyday life. When Australian researchers looked at seventy somethings, for instance, they found that those with the largest network of friends had the longest lease on life. For the average person, this could add up to seven additional years. But acquaintances aren’t friends: You need people you can openly confide in.
Keep a Positive Frame of Mind – In a Yale University study of older adults, people with a positive outlook on the aging process lived more than seven years longer than those who felt doomed to deteriorating mental and physical health. If you’re outlook has some room for improvement, give back to your community by volunteering or mentoring-selfless actions that distract from unhealthy obsessing, according to studies. In addition to helping others, don’t forget to care about yourself. Make yourself happy by doing the activities you enjoy most – whether it’s going to the spa , playing golf, going to a movie or drinking green tea. Do something for yourself.

Well there you go with 6 ways to get oomph! I know there are many, many more ways to get oomph! I would love to hear back from you, on how you get oomph!

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