This week, we have a great post from Dr. Sandra Tremblay, from Alamo Heights Chiropractic in San Antonio, Texas. She discusses the 100 year lifestyle, which includes exercise, nutrition, and spirituality. (You're in for a treat!)
"Are You Living the 100 Year Lifestyle?"
by Sandra Carrell Tremblay, D.C.
Studies say that the fastest growing segment of our population are centenarians. The number of 100 year old people worldwide is expected to grow by 746% between now and 2040. - US Census Bureau. 50% of babies born since 2000 are expected to live to 100. - British Medical Journal. Is it possible to live to 100 and be healthy?
That is a great question. To be healthy, you must be well, and to be well, you must know what that means. Merriam-Webster says that well-ness is the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal. Dr. Eric Plasker, the author of 'The Hundred Year Lifestyle' franchise says that you must focus on your ESS. You must have good Endurance to live a long and healthy life. Participate regularly in an activities such as run/walking, racquetball, tennis or biking. These type of cardiovascular exercises take care of your heart and can be monitored using a heart rate monitor where you can focus on functioning in your target heart zone.
Strength training like Pilates, Yoga and lifting weights help you stay physically strong and active and allow you to maintain a youthful set of physical activities. Structure or having a strong core and spine is vital for functioning well throughout your life. Deteriorated posture equals diminished health. Don't let this happen to you. Keep your brain body communication functioning in top performance. Don't wait to get your spine checked when you already feel bad. Be proactive with your wellness care.
The Blue Zones book, written by Dan Buettner
and published by National Geographic studied the few areas in the world where the largest healthy over 100 year old populations of people living healthy live. Their 'Power 9®' lessons show you how they do it. It is no special trick. These lessons emphasize making changes to your environment that will influence your habits.
Move Naturally - Gain 4 Years
1. Just Move Rather than joining a gym, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They live in places where they can walk to the store, friend's homes or places of worship, take the stairs and garden. Right Outlook - Gain 4 Years
2. Purpose Now Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy. The Okinawans call it "ikigai" and the Nicoyans call it "plan de vida;" for both it translates to "why I wake up in the morning." Be able to articulate your likes, values, passions, gifts and talents. Put your skills into action.
3. Down Shift Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress, which leads to chronic inflammation and is associated with every major age-related disease. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour. They practice shedding stress.
Eat Wisely - Gain 8 Years
4. 80% Rule "Hara hachi bu" - the Okianawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomach is 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. Replace your big dishes with 10" plates. No TV during dinner. They eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and nothing after. What a concept!
5. Plant Slant Eat small amounts of the leanest, finest meat you can afford. Beans, including fava, black and soy and lentils are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Snacking on nuts-about a handful a day has been associated with and extra 2-3 years of life expectancy.
6. Wine @ 5 Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 drinks per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food.
Connect - Gain 4 Years
7. Belong All but five of the 263 centenarians interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. It doesn't matter if you're Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or some other religion that meets as a community. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
8. Loved Ones First Put your family first. This means keeping your aging parents and grandparents nearby or in your home. (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.) Work on being in a positive, committed relationship (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in your children with time and love. (They'll be more likely to care for you when the time comes.)
9. Right Tribe The world's longest lived people chose-or were born into-social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created "moais"-groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies show that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness is contagious. Assessing who you hang out with, and then proactively surrounding yourself with the right friends, will do more to add years to your life than just about anything else.
These are the concepts of a true wellness lifestyle. Notice, these experts didn't say you can take a pill and make your life better. Instead, the concepts mentioned are all purposeful daily steps that focus on what is really important to our bodies, mind and soul. Yes, it will take a little time to re-order our daily routine, but do it. Do it for yourself, your family, your future and for a better society for us all.