Category Archives: living longer

Reaction time variation may predict mortality in old age – Study

A common indicator of neurobiological disturbance among the elderly may also be associated with mortality, according to a study published August 9, 2017 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Nicole A. Kochan at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW Sydney.

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Intraindividual reaction time variability (IIVRT), defined as an individual’s variation in reaction times when completing a single cognitive task across several trials, has been associated with mild cognitive decline, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The authors of this study investigated whether IIVRT is also associated with mortality in old age by following a cohort of 861 adults aged 70 years to 90 years over an eight-year period.

Kochan and colleagues tested the participants’ baseline reaction time by having them complete two brief computerized cognitive tasks comprising 76 trials to measure the average reaction time and the extent of variation over the trials. Every two years, research psychologists followed up on the participants and conducted a comprehensive medical assessment including a battery of neuropsychological tests to assess the participants’ cognitive function. Cases were also reviewed by a panel of experts to determine a dementia diagnosis in each two year follow-up, and mortality data was collected from the state registry.

Study results indicate that greater IIVRT predicted all-cause mortality, but the average RT did not predict time to death. Researchers found that other risks factors associated with mortality such as dementia, cardiovascular risk and age could not explain the association between IIVRT and mortality prediction. The authors suggested that IIVRT could therefore be an independent predictor of shorter time death.

“The study was the first to comprehensively account for effects of overall cognitive level and dementia on the relationship between intraindividual variability of reaction time and mortality,” says Kochan. “Our findings suggest that greater intraindividual reaction time variability is a behavioural marker that uniquely predicts shorter time to death.”

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Does coffee help you live longer?

I love my morning coffee. I also love a cup of cappuccino after dinner when dining out, so, clearly I have a dog in this fight.

Scientists have found that people who drink coffee appear to live longer.

Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites.

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People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day—18 percent reduced chance of death.

Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Veronica W. Setiawan, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Continue reading

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7 Simple suggestions to live longer – AHA

Living past 100 is no walk in the park, although including one can prove very helpful. The American Heart Association has created this list with the goal of improved health by educating the public on how best to live longer and healthier.

These measures have one unique thing in common: any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference. Start with one or two. This simple, seven step list has been developed to deliver on the hope we all have–to live a long, productive healthy life. 

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Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.
Learn how to manage your blood pressure. Continue reading

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What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

Wonderful post full of worthwhile information.

Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.

Tony

Content Catnip

According to a book released in April, entitled Blue Zone Solutions, there’s a methodology to living a long and healthy life.  Author of the book Dan Buettner and CEO of the eponymous organisation spent a decade visiting and studying populations or ‘Blue Zones’ where individuals live inordinately long and healthy lives.

There were some common denominators to how these people lived their lives. They are as follows

  • Physical activity incorporated naturally into their daily lives, i.e. gardening, walking, taking the stairs rather than the lift, working out.
  • Having a sense of purpose, caring for a loved one, volunteering.
  • Low stress levels and a slower pace of life
  • Strong family and community connections
  • A diet of moderate caloric intake from mostly plant sources.

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

Icaria in Greece 

A tiny dot in the Aegean Sea, people here live on average eight years longer than Americans and experience 20% less cancer, half the rate…

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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss (and Living Longer)

I have added the well-deserved phrase and living longer to the header this week. Please don’t lose sight of the fact that your weight loss efforts should ultimately result in your living longer, not just looking more attractive to the opposite sex.

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As always, the laugh’s on me.

Tony

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Secrets for Living a Longer Life – WebMD

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestioins in this blog over the past five plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “

As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.

Choose Friends Wisely – This seems logical if not obvious. Our friends’ habits rub off on us. “Studies indicate obesity is socially “contagious” —  your chance of becoming obese increases by 57 percent if you have a friend who becomes obese. Smoking is another habit that spreads through social ties, but the good news is that quitting is also contagious,” WebMD said.

Nap more. As a retired guy, I like (and practice) this one a lot. “A recent study with 24,000 participants suggests that regular nappers are 37 percent less likely to die from heart disease than occasional nappers. Researchers think naps might help the heart by keeping stress hormones down.”

I fully understand stress hormones and their effect on the body. Check out my s t r e s s tag at the right to read further on it. I recommend the post – Super Tools for Handling Stress.

Forgive – “Letting go of grudges has surprising physical health benefits. Chronic anger is linked to decreased lung function, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. Forgiveness will reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and help you to breathe more easily. These benefits tend to increase as you get older.” This was certainly a nice one to learn. Forgiving makes even more sense now.

The last three I will mention are near and dear to my heart. Namely, make sleep a priority, keep moving and lose weight.

Sleep –  “Getting enough good quality sleep can lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mood disorders. Sufficient sleep will also help you recover from illness faster. Burning the midnight oil, on the other hand, carries serious health risks. Sleeping less than 5 hours per night boosts the risk of premature death, so make sleep a priority.” I agree with this so wholeheartedly that I have written a Page on it – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep.

Keep Moving – “The evidence is overwhelming — people who exercise live longer on average than those who don’t. According to dozens of studies, regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and depression. Exercise may even help you stay mentally sharp in into old age. Ten-minute spurts of activity are fine, as long as they add up to about 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week.”

Since the mantra of this blog is eat less;move more; live longer, I rest my case. I did especially like that WebMD mentioned that you “stay mentally sharp” from exercise. Check out my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for a lot more information on the benefits the brain derives from exercise.

Last, but now least, Lose Weight – “If you’re overweight, slimming down can protect against diabetes, heart disease, and other life-shortening conditions. Belly fat appears to be particularly harmful, so focus on deflating that spare tire. A 5-year study of Hispanics and African-Americans suggests eating more fiber and exercising regularly are effective ways to reduce belly fat.”

To read the entire 18 reasons cited by WebMD.

Tony

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Exercise More and Live Longer – New York Times

Gretchen Reynolds, writing in the New York Times, had some great information on the value of exercise in terms of living longer. She said that one of the problems with exercise is that experts aren’t clear on how much is too little, too much or just the right amount to for us to be healthy and, more importantly, to improve our longevity.

In one broad large scale study, comparing 14 years of death records, “They found that, unsurprisingly, the people who did not exercise at all were at the highest risk of early death.

7-Health-Benefits-Of-Walking-Every-Day“But those who exercised a little, not meeting the recommendations but doing something, lowered their risk of premature death by 20 percent.”

“Those who met the guidelines precisely, completing 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, enjoyed greater longevity benefits and 31 percent less risk of dying during the 14-year period compared with those who never exercised.”

As a senior citizen who works on endurance and worries about breaking and tearing body parts with strenuous exercise, I was gratified to learn the conclusion: “The sweet spot for exercise benefits, however, came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day. Those people were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised.”

I have said time and again in this blog that walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world – totally under-appreciated, but really royalty.

Eat less; move more has been the mantra of this blog almost from the beginning. I would like to amend that to: eat less; move more; live longer.

Here are some of the posts I have done concerning seniors and exercise:
Why Seniors Need to Exercise – NIH
Weight Training Techniques for Seniors
What About Seniors Doing Endurance Sports?
What are the Guidelines for Seniors Exercising?

To read more on the benefits of walking:
Why You Should be Walking More
20 Benefits of Walking – Infographic
ow Good is Walking for You? – Infographic
Is Walking as Effective an Exercise as Running?
What are the Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding?

Last, but not least, no one wants to live long without the benefit of a fully functioning brain: check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise). You can have it all.
Tony

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Prescription for Living Longer: Spend Less Time Alone

“Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we’re at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet,” said Tim Smith, co-author of the study. “With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future.”

Cooking with Kathy Man

Ask people what it takes to live a long life, and they’ll say things like exercise, take Omega-3s, and see your doctor regularly.

Now research from Brigham Young University shows that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity.

“The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead study author. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”

Loneliness and social isolation can look very different. For example, someone may be surrounded by many people but still feel alone. Other people may isolate themselves because they prefer to be alone. The effect on longevity, however, is much the same for those two scenarios.

The association between loneliness and risk for mortality among young populations is actually greater than among older populations. Although older people are more likely to be lonely and…

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Even Moderate Regular Exercise Can Add Years to Your Life

“It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to dramatically improve the way you age. Even moderate exercise helps neutralize free radicals, boost your immune system and even grow new brain cells,” according to The Washington Post.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours per week of moderate intensity exercise.
 OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
 OR Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

Take a good look at those numbers from the Department. Those aren’t big numbers.

The Washington Post referenced a study “Analyzing data for more than 650,000 people, pooled from six existing studies, and tracking them for an average of 10 years (during which time more than 82,000 deaths were recorded), they found that even a little bit of activity seemed to help people live longer. Compared to no physical activity, just 75 minutes of brisk walking per week was associated with an extra 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40. Bumping that up to 150 minutes a week – the amount currently recommended by the World Health Organization – was associated with 3.4 years of added longevity; walking briskly for 450 minutes a week or more added up to an extra 4.5 years of life. The relationship between weekly physical activity time and longevity began leveling off at about 300 minutes, the study notes.”

So, with a little bit of regular exercise, you can extend your life, reduce your waistline and bolster your brain power, too. What are you waiting for?

Tony

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Filed under aging, brain, Exercise, living longer, walking, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Thinking About Good Eating

I ran across these on Pinterest and thought they were worth sharing:
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Tony

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What Is the Co$t of Obe$ity?

I have talked about overweight and obesity statistics here repeatedly. By now, is there anyone who doesn’t know that 60 percent of us at overweight and 30 percent of us outright obese.

You can read chapter and verse on How Does Obesity Affect You? personally.

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We have let ourselves go to the point that employers are now paying for it.

The Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal talks about the costs in detail. “A 2011 Gallup survey estimated obese or overweight full-time U.S. workers miss an additional 450 million days of work each year, compared with healthy workers, resulting in more than $153 billion in lost productivity.”

Typically 20 percent of a company’s employees drive 80 percent of the health-care costs. and about 70 percent of the costs are related to chronic conditions resulting from lifestyle choices like overeating or sedentary behavior.

Companies, trying to get control of their rocketing healthcare costs, are fighting back. Last month CVS shocked some employees by asking for personal health metrics, like body fat, blood sugar, etc. or pay a $600 penalty. Michelin is adding as much as $1000 to health care costs of employees with high blood pressure or large waistlines.

After talking and writing about this for over three years, I wonder what it will take to get folks to do something about their personal health.

If you are reading this blog, perhaps that can be a first step. Check out How to Lose Weight – And Keep it Off.

Tony

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Filed under arteries, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk, fat, health care costs, healthy eating, healthy living, heart, heart disease, heart problems, living longer, Weight

Is Cycling Past 70 Different Than Cycling Past 50?

I ran across this excellent discussion of senior cycling on RoadBikeRider.com. They have graciously permitted me to reprint it. See permission at end.

RBR Editor’s Note: Coach John Hughes copied me on a recent email exchange he had with Marty Hoganson, an RBR reader with whom he had ridden on tours in years gone by. Marty wondered what, if any, differences there are in terms of recovery, motivation, etc., between 50-somethings and 70-somethings. Both agreed to let me share the exchange with RBR readers. It provides a wealth of solid, useful information.

Marty Asked:
These days I live and ride in Yuma, Arizona. I am involved in our local bike club called Foothills Bicycle Club, which is primarily made up of retired folks – late-50s to mid-80s. Many strong riders in their 60s and 70s, for their ages — or any age, for that matter.

Now that I am older also I have taken some interest in your articles on cycling and aging. I was wondering how cycling over 70 relates to your articles on cycling over 50? I’m pretty sure they don’t necessarily relate well. I am arriving in that 70+ age group this year, and have been feeling the difference in recovery time and healing from injuries for quite a few years.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

What used to take three days to recover from, while riding a tour, may now take longer than the tour lasts. Maybe months longer. I ride year-round and still ride pretty strong, but I’m also experiencing a loss of interest in doing long days. I still like to do long tours, but with shorter days. I’m wondering if the lack of desire or drive might be a major contributing factor in the loss of performance, or if the loss of performance leads to the lack of desire to train harder? Also, if the shorter days might lead to the longer recovery times? Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, blood pressure, cardio exercise, Exercise, general well-being, health, healthy living, heart, living longer, men's health, muscles, seniors, stretching, Weight

Baby Boomers Aging Badly

I always thought that boomers were busy running triathlons and skiing down the slopes these days. They are reported to have the longest life expectancy of any previous generation and exploit the latest medical technology, so why wouldn’t they be? I am talking about that 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964.

JAMA researchers found otherwise.

Alice Park writing in Time.com reports that boomers have “higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol than members of the previous generation.

Junk foods like these are part of the reason boomers are failing the most important test of all.

Junk foods like these are part of the reason boomers are failing the most important test of all.

“The revelation comes from data in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a national snapshot of health measures and behaviors conducted by the U.S. government. Dr. Dana King, a professor in family medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine and his colleagues compared baby boomers aged 46 years to 64 years between 2007 and 2010 to similar aged Americans in 1988 to 1994. Overall, only 13% of baby boomers rated their health as ‘excellent’ while nearly three times as many, 32%, of those in the previous generation considered themselves in excellent health.” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, arterial plaque, arteries, baby boomers, blood pressure, body fat, calories, cancer, cardiovascular risk, childhood obesity, diabetes, Exercise, fast food, health, healthy eating, healthy living, heart, heart disease, heart problems, junk food, life challenges, living longer, Weight

Tips on Fighting Off a Cold – Mayo Clinic

I have written repeatedly about the flu and protecting yourself from it this season. It is also worth mentioning that this is cold season as well. A lot of folks are suffering from the common cold.
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The Mayo Clinic has some worthwhile suggestions on fighting a cold virus if you succumb.

Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter has the following to say about handling cold symptoms.

“Being sick with a cold virus for a week or two doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. These remedies may help:
• Fluids — Drink plenty of liquids. Water, juice, clear broth, or warm water with lemon juice and honey can help loosen congestion.
• Saltwater gargle — To relieve a sore or scratchy throat, gargle with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Continue reading

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My Favorite Piece of Advice and Writing

Here is another list of good ideas for healthier and happier living. Consider this a companion piece to Regina’s Life Lesson’s from earlier this week. Also, the regular ideas that senior supermodel Oleda Baker shares with us.
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Aspirus Healthy Aging Service Line

One of my favorite pieces of writing, every time I read it, and its been many, it makes me smile. This was written my Mary Schmich and first published in the Chicago Tribune June 1, 1997. It’s been emailed, copied, repeated millions of times and even set to music. I hope you enjoy it too!                                      –Julie Luks, MD, Medical Director of Aspirus Senior Health

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of…

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Filed under aging, appreciation, brain, Exercise, happiness, healing, health, healthy living, living longer, Oleda Baker, stretching, Weight

Regina’s Life Lessons

I love posting Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker’s tips on aging, health and beauty because at the age of 78 and looking as amazing as she does, she clearly knows whereof she speaks. For that reason I was thrilled to discover Regina’s Life Lessons,  45 Life Lessons written by 90-year-old Regina Brett. I share them with you below, but first, you need to know that Regina Brett is not 90 years old although she has the wisdom of a sage. She closer to 50 years old and writes a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the largest paper in Ohio and 16th largest in the U.S. with a circulation exceeding 300,000.

In her words, “The Internet aged me. The day before I turned 45, I wrote a column of the 45 Lessons Life Taught Me. I added five more lessons when I turned 50. My Life Lessons ended up e-mailed around the world. Only someone changed my age on an email to read: ‘Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old.’ Then someone attached a picture of lovely old lady to the email. No, that dear senior citizen isn’t me.”
Regina Brett
She has written books and columns and is available as a public speaker. You can find out more about her at her website. Right now, simply savor her life lessons. They are a wonderful guide to healthy living and aging.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good..
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15.. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words :’In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life..
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

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