Aging has been a topic for like forever. For one thing most of us will do it or if not the alternative isn’t one we want to think about. At one time men searched for the Fountain of Youth. Now we are looking toward science instead of an elusive pool of magical water, but the search goes on.
May 4th 60 Minutes ran a report on aging or more specifically the over 90 crowd which are now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.
It was an interesting report. For one thing life expectancy in this country, has since the 20th century, increased by 30 years. In 1900 it was 49 and today it is 79. Currently a groundbreaking research study called “90+” is being conducted to find answers to questions like what kind of shape we’ll be in if we do live past 89. And, what can we do to up our odds.
Some of the research findings I found interesting were;
• The men and women in the project have a rich social life and many date.
• One lady was asked what her secret of long life is. She answered, “I wish I knew.”
• No surprise: smokers died earlier than non-smokers.
• People who exercised definitely lived longer than people who didn’t exercise. As little as 15 minutes a day on average made a difference. Forty-five minutes was the best. Even three hours didn’t beat 45 minutes a day. What I liked was that it was found that it didn’t all have to be at once. It could be, for example, 15 minutes of walking and then later in the day gardening or something. And it also didn’t have to be very intense exercise.
• And non-physical activities — book clubs, socializing with friends, board games — all good.
• People who took Vitamins, E, A, C and calcium didn’t live any longer than people who didn’t take them.
• Up to two drinks a day led to a 10-15 percent reduced risk of death compared to non-drinkers. A lot of people like to say it’s only red wine. The research showed it didn’t matter, beer and mixed drinks gave the same results as red wine.
• For coffee drinkers. Caffeine intake equivalent to 1-3 cups of coffee a day was better than more, or none.
And, this one I think is my favorite.
It turns out that the best thing to do as you age is to at least maintain or even gain weight. (However being obese is never good.) And being overweight as a young person wasn’t good either. But late in life, they found people who were overweight or average weight both outlived people who were underweight.
Conclusion; It’s not good to be skinny when you’re old.