The cool nights and warm days have me yearning to live forever! How would you treat yourself differently if you knew you would live to be a hundred?
(That line of thinking made me get up off the couch!)
I recall interviewing a 106-year old man in Starkville several years ago. He was working on his computer when I arrived at his home – checking his stock portfolio – and his 62 year old girlfriend let me in the front door! For those of you in the Golden Triangle – this was Steve Davis’ grandfather.
In a recent study of centenarians (Mr. Davis was one of 170 people included in the study), a common thread for their abundance of birthdays, was a positive attitude. Rather than sitting around groaning and moaning, they see problems as challenges, have a sense of humor and laugh a lot. Laughter is like “internal jogging” and it beefs up the immune system.
The ultimate embodiment of good humor and attitude was Jeanne Calment, the oldest living person in recorded history who died in 1997 at 122 years and 164 days! Born in 1875 in Arles, Frances, her catch phrase was “I always keep a smile. I attribute my long life to that. I believe I will die laughing.”
Born long before diet became a national obsession, some centenarians probably consumed red meat, saturated fat, butter, fried foods, and sweets. I know my grandparents did, and all but one lived into their 90s.
“My diet was always healthy,” said Cesare Di Tullio, 102. “I eat lots of the fresh leafy vegetables I grow. I always drink a little wine every night. I never gambled and quit smoking 50 years ago.”
Lesser mortals need not despair. Most people today have genes that allow them to live to be at least 85 provided they adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Among findings in the study – the only chronic diseases found common among respondents was osteoarthritis and non-aggressive skin cancers caused by 100 plus years of sun exposure.
It was also concluded that exercise is the ace in the hole – especially muscle building exercises. Loss of muscle mass is the main cause of frailty which often results in falls. Falls, and resulting broken bones, can confine the person to the bed for an extended period of time and a major decline sets in.
In another study, physicians put 90 and 100-year olds on Nautilus weight machines, tripling their muscle mass over nine months and yielding huge improvements in gait, balance, sleep and cognitive function.
So.. to all my aging friends out there – we’ve got a lot of living yet to do, and it’s never too late to turn back the clock with some minor tweaking of our daily routines.
On my list of “To-Dos” today – do some weight lifting and find someone to laugh with.