Towards Achieving Longevity

exercising older people
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Step 1: Stop Damaging Your Health

At its most basic level, aging is nothing more than an accumulation of damage; breakages in the molecular machinery of your cells, a build up of metabolic waste products that your body cannot break down, the flailing of biological systems that are increasingly unable to cope. Ask yourself this: are you damaging yourself more rapidly than you might otherwise be, perhaps more than you realize? Do you smoke? Do recreational drugs occupy a central position in your life? Do you eat nothing but junk food or are overweight? Do you exercise little or not at all? Do you have a poor relationship with your physician, or haven’t seen a doctor in years? If so, you have a clear starting point. These things can hurt you far more than any presently available strategy for healthy living can help. There is little point in insulating the windows if the door is jammed open.

Find a physician you can trust and talk to about improving your health. You might be surprised at how easy, low-cost, and downright pleasant it is to lead a healthier and thereby longer life.

Step 2: Adopt a Better Diet and Lifestyle

The body is a complex, resilient machine. Unlike our cars, however, we can’t replace it when it breaks down. Given that, it’s scandalous that most people know more about the long-term care of a car than they do about the long-term care of the human body. Fortunately, it’s neither difficult nor expensive to use diet and lifestyle to raise the odds of living a longer and healthier life.

Firstly: adopt some form of calorie restricted diet, whether straight calorie restriction or some form of intermittent fasting. Calorie restriction and some implementations of intermittent fasting, such as alternate day fasting, are currently the most robustly, repeatedly proven way of extending healthy life in mammals. Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting have been shown in human studies to provide a range of other beneficial effects on health, such as a greatly lowered risk of suffering all common age-related medical conditions – and these approaches to diet are highly praised by practitioners.

Secondly: exercise as recommended by your physician. The benefits of maintaining a modest regular level of exercise for most people are well known and well proven by many scientific studies. As is also true of calorie restriction, these benefits include a greatly reduced risk of suffering almost all of the common age-related diseases.

Thirdly: take a modest amount of supplements appropriate to your age and health. There is a wealth of supplement information available, but much of it is worthless, propagated by irresponsible sellers. This is perhaps the hardest topic to research, and in the end you will have to make a number of decisions yourself based on incomplete or contradictory scientific evidence. The bottom line here, however, is that no presently available supplement or combination of supplements has been shown to provide even a fraction of the benefits of either calorie restriction or exercise, for all that they are widely supposed to be beneficial.


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From the Archive

“You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.”

- Maya Angelou
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