7 keys to longevity, proven by medicine

Humanity has been searching for the secret of immortality for thousands of years. For some people, this quest today includes things like sleeping in a pressure chamber, experimenting with cryotherapy, or bombarding oneself with infrared light.

Most of aging experts They are skeptical that such actions significantly expand the upper limit of human life. They believe that by practicing certain simple behaviors, many people They can live healthier and longer, reaching 80, 90 and even 100 years old in good physical and mental shape. Such behavior is simply not as exotic as transfusion of someone’s young blood.

“People are looking for a magic pill,” said Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, scientific director of the US National Institute on Aging. “and the magic pill is here”.

Here are seven tips from geriatricians on how to add more good years to your life.

1. Move more

The first thing the experts recommended was keep your body active. That’s because study after study shows that exercise reduces the risk of premature death.

Physical activity supports heart and circulatory health and provides protection against numerous chronic diseases that affect the body and mind. Also strengthens muscleswhich may reduce the risk of falls in older adults.

“While we spend time as adults developing muscle mass, strength, balance and cardiovascular endurance, as we age our bodies will begin to lose then from a stronger place about what happens next,” explained Anna Chang, a professor of medicine specializing in geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Walking a little more than 20 minutes a day is already beneficial for your health. Walking a little more than 20 minutes a day is already beneficial for your health.

The best exercise is any activity you like and what you continue to do. You don’t have to do much, either: The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, meaning walking just over 20 minutes a day is already beneficial.

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

The experts did not recommend one specific diet over any other, but in general they advised eating in moderation and tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fresh produce in addition to whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil, is a good healthy eating model and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.

The Mediterranean diet is a good model to follow.  Photo by Shutterstock.The Mediterranean diet is a good model to follow. Photo by Shutterstock.

Some experts say maintaining a healthy weight is important for longevity, but for Dr. John Rowe, a professor of health policy and aging at Columbia University, it’s not a concern, especially as people enter old age. “I have always been more concerned about my patients who have lost weight than my patients who have gained weight,” Rowe said.

3. I slept enough

Sleep is sometimes underestimated, but it plays an important role in healthy aging. Research has shown that the average amount of sleep a person gets per night correlates with the risk of death from any cause, and that achieving this result good sleep quality consistently can add years to your life.

Sleep appears to be especially important for brain health: A 2021 study found that people who slept less than five hours a night had twice the risk of developing dementia.

Sleep is important for brain health.  PhotoSleep is important for brain health. Photo

“When people grow old you need to sleep more, not less“said Alison Moore, professor of medicine and chief of the division of geriatrics, gerontology and palliative care at the University of California, San Diego. seven to nine hours recommendedhe added.

4. Don’t smoke or drink too much.

It goes without saying, but Smoking increases the risk of developing all types of fatal diseases. “There is no amount of cigarette smoke that is good for your health,” Rowe said.

Smoking increases the risk of all types of diseases.  Photo illustration by Shutterstock.Smoking increases the risk of all types of diseases. Photo illustration by Shutterstock.

We are beginning to understand how harmful excessive alcohol consumption is. More than one drink a day for women and two for men (and perhaps even less) increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation, liver disease and seven types of cancer.

5. Take care of your chronic diseases.

All the healthy habits mentioned above help control high blood pressure, cholesterol and prediabetes and prevent them from developing into even more serious diseases, but sometimes lifestyle precautions are not enough. That’s why experts say it’s important. follow your doctor’s advice to keep the situation under control.

“It’s not fun to take medications, it’s not fun to control your blood pressure and your blood sugar,” Dr. Chang recalls. “But when we optimize all these things in one package, they also help us live better, healthier and longer“.

6. Prioritize your relationships

psychological health Physical health often takes a backseat, but Anna Chang explained that it is just as important. “Isolation and loneliness are as bad for our health as smoking,” he said, adding that it puts us at “higher risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke.”

Personal relationships are the key not only to greater health, but also to greater happiness. According to the Harvard University Adult Development Study, Strong relationships are the best indicator of well-being.

Friends are excellent psychological support.  Friends are excellent psychological support.

John Rowe tells his medical students that one of the best indicators of how well an elderly patient will be doing in six months is to ask: “How many friends or family members did you see last week?”.

7. Develop a positive mental attitude.

Even think positively It may help you live longer. Several studies have shown that optimism is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and that people who score high on tests of optimism live 5 to 15 percent longer than those who are more pessimistic.

This may be due to the fact that optimistic people tend to have healthier habits and lower rates of some chronic diseases, but even after accounting for these factors, research shows that people who think positively still live longer.

If you need to make healthy lifestyle choices for your longevity, “engage in some form of physical activity,” said Dr. Alison Moore. “If you can’t do that, focus on being a positive person.”

New York Times. Special for Clarin

Translation: Roman García Ascarate

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