Day To Reveal The Key To Longevity

This is a perfect time for the Big Reveal, the ultimate secret to longevity. After almost 10 years writing this blog, and for some of you almost 10 years reading it, I figured it was a goal to conquer, a treasure to find.

The Plan

I couldn’t do it. My plan was to write an entire blog revealing the #1 key to longevity, THE queen-of-queens from all the rest. After I described the benefits and shared study literature reinforcing my theory, perhaps even promoting my own fitness program (PizzazzEE-25), I would end explaining the ultimate key.

No. Actually, that wouldn’t be the end. The end would be when I “pop up” and say “April Fools.”

Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Couldn’t pick the big reveal. My mind’s tentacles made myriad connections, reaching out in many directions. So, I decided to at least briefly share the characters in the story, or rather the contenders.

Contenders & Supporting Actors

The candidates for best of show in the longevity quest are vast in varsity. Numerous ones are in the holistic or alternative realm, while others more allopathic (what we think of as common western medicine). Then there are those more physical in nature, or perhaps mind and spirit. Admittedly, all of these contenders are subjects of innumerable books, vast research and authored theories. I’m just touching on them, kind of like a star list of Oscar nominations.

Of course, just being nominated demonstrates how vital they are. The list does not determine their order of rank. I couldn’t do that either. However, when I can, I’ll share links to posts related to the issue. Here are my nominees.

The Envelope Please….

Avoid the Landmines

Regular readers know this is a favorite of mine. It could be boiled down to two words: attention and luck.

Pure Intake

Pure water and unadulterated food may be obvious, but vital to making your intake safer. Whether you drink community tap water, well-water or filtered water, it pays to know what’s in it. It’s just as difficult with food, since we all realize that pesticides and additives are not what would be categorized as pure and healthy. Aside from washing produce and being careful of dented cans, do pay attention to recalls. This year Quaker Oats owes me over $20 (still not received) for an oatmeal recall. And I had to dump more than a cup (from different batches) of cinnamon which was contaminated with lead (and used in applesauce, including baby food). No refund there, but dumping it was well worth it.

Nutritional Balance

I want good nutrients in my diet; but I avoid that word ‘die-t’ when I can. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could easily understand the phrase “You are What you Eat?” There’s truth in the concept, but confusion too. Will I be a “sweet” person if I eat a lot of sugar? Uh, not a good plan.

The Mediterranean diet is generally a good approach. Although some of us choose to be Pescatarian. The Ketogenic diet has helped many lose weight and is being explored for brain health. Yet, for others it has had a negative effect on receptors for LDLs (Low-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, so often referred to as “bad” cholesterol). Gluten-free diets provide a soothing approach for several severe conditions, simple comfort for others, while unnecessary and difficult to maintain for many of us. Intermittent Fasting (which I do twice per week) does not always satisfy the desire of some who have a goal to lose weight quickly.

We could continue with pro/cons of even the best diets, including nutrients that become more difficult as we age. Ignoring all those details, I am not going to try to convert anyone.

I am not a fanatical advocate for one particular diet over all others. I don’t always believe the take-aways from research (depends on the study) nor do I always believe people when they report their food intake. After all, I’ve tried it myself and I know that cheating and poor reporting is all too common. Finally, no one diet is right for everyone.

One consistent key is maintaining a balanced diet, no matter what our age. This is true for a balance in calories as well – not too many, not too few. For further action, if you want to ensure your nutrients through food (and object to supplements) satisfy your knowledge of at least the basics here: Top 10 Deficiencies in Typical Senior Diet

Fitness

Exercise practices (or combinations of them) are so varied, we couldn’t cover them all if we simply enumerated a list. My own fitness program, PizzazzEE-25 is an App concentrating on the things I would say are most vital to our 2nd 50-year needs: flexibility, strength/stamina and balance. Unlike PizzazzEE, most fitness activities concentrate more heavily in one or two of these areas. That’s why we need variety.

I do many activities other than PizzazzEE-25, including HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), various therapeutic exercises, ‘Body-Blade’, Indian Clubs, nominal bilking, rebounding, speed bag (see Boomers Boxing for Balance ….. (including Pugilism for Parkinson’s), and of course walking. As we age, certain approaches are safer while still effective for us. It’s probably the reason many of us now find pickleball more pleasing than tennis or racquetball. The major key is to do something – your pick. (But do pick activities to achieve each of the vital-needs categories mentioned above.)

Movement

While related to fitness and exercise, movement IS different. Think of how you feel on the day you work around the house or yard versus the ones where you sit for hours at the computer or on the couch. Michael Mosely (a British journalist concentrating on health science) found that people benefit who simply move more. Even those who nervously jiggle their legs, pace constantly or use the stairs frequently were accomplishing some of the payback from regular exercise. My one key is this, try not to sit (anywhere) for more than 20 minutes without Moving. At the TV, you might try these TV exercises or sitting on a gym ball.

Sleep

6-7-8-9 or more? The hours you need to sleep depends on you – your metabolism, genetics and more. Still, most of us get LESS than we really need. Most experts will say that the number of hours doesn’t matter, but that consistency does. That means retiring and arising around the same times each day. But there is still controversy over Second sleep (a 2-stage habit) and naps, or even my favorite, and my coined phrase, a Napachino.

Consistency may be the common recommendation of experts (with lots of research behind it). Still, I think that vitality and feeling replenished is an equally good measure. When you are stressed or feeling a bit under the weather, extra hours of sleep support your wellbeing. When a project is on your mind and disrupting sleep, it’s better to work on it rather than lie awake, waiting for your supposedly-consistent cock-crow hour.

Physical Medicine

Aside from the many benefits of “physical medicine,” the reason I would consider it for myself before allopathic or pharmaceutical medicines comes down to one concept – non-invasive. Even considering invasive surgery is relative. Surgery is often less invasive to the body’s system than some types of chemotherapy treatments.

Physical therapies abound, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, PT / physical therapy (occasionally in conjunction with physiatry), all kinds of massage such as Shiatzu (or trigger point therapy), Myofascial Release Therapy, or the newer NeuroFascial Release or NeuroFascial Reset.

Even hearing aids and eyeglasses could be considered in the category of physical remedies. And what about the dentist?

Pharmaceutical Medicine

In contrast to Physical Medicine, pharmaceuticals are invasive, affecting internal systems. Yet sometimes still the correct choice. Perhaps less-than-the-best choice, I have my own example. I have allergies (always exacerbated with yard work). I know MANY ways to avoid them, but as it’s said, “knowing the way is not going the way.” Thus, my lazy alternative is to take OTC Claritin; it’s effective to avoid side-effects of allergies, but sill invasive. To ease my guilt, I concentrate on the “effective” part.

More serious treatment decisions and options are also plentiful.  Especially so when diet and alternatives are not effective enough.  Examples include immunotherapy or chemotherapies for cancers, antiviral treatments for liver in Hepatis (especially C), antibiotics for Strep, Lyme’s or new emerging TB. Or perhaps ART (Anti-Retro Viral therapy) for HIV/AIDS. And antipsychotics for severe mental health diseases. All of these, while invasive, help us face gross maladies and extend our days.

In terms of longevity, some functional medicine practitioners advise taking medicines as a “preventative approach” before they’re needed. Some are supplements, but others scripts. Common among these drugs are statins for cholesterol or blood pressure and thyroid medications. Less common are several drugs in the ‘longevity miracle’ category, for which there are often supplements that mimic the action of the pharmaceutical. An example of this is the primarily-prescription drug, rapamycin.

Mental Health

Assuming we are starting out from a relatively safe baseline, we still can’t avoid mental health issues as we age. Depression, frustration or loneliness can fester more easily when we are not required to attend school, work or other responsibilities. Insurance companies are learning what we know, good mental health can be as stabilizing as physical health. Additionally, several of the other mentioned categories are major contributors to emotional storability – particularly sleep, movement and fitness. Even physical medicine plays a part as we’ve learned that hearing loss (if not corrected by hearing aids) can lead to isolation and more loneliness.

Other aspects to explore include:

Avoiding isolation. (Also a second post for the Loneliness is Lethal section.)
Fostering friends and family relationships.
Find or keep a purpose.
Treat yourself well.

Spiritual Elements

Spiritual doesn’t mean religion, although it can. It could concentrate on Seeking Elusive Moments of Perfection in nature, in self-contemplation or just in life.

Music and meditation could be considered under this label. Once being an RMT (Registered Music Therapist), I can affirm that music has tangible physical effects on the body. Yet, aside from that reaction, most people have felt the spirit move them at some time or another when music was the catalyst.

Day To Reveal The Key To Longevity &Raquo; Pbs On Music Therapy 560X377 1
Opera Legend Renee Fleming Teams Up With Dr. Francis Collins To Study How Music Can Improve Health.

Meditation too has been studied for positive reactions. Researchers have tracked brain waves, endocrinology processes, and of course breath and heart rates during meditation. No matter YOUR definition of spiritual, it’s part of health and perhaps “soul.”

Supplements

I’ve written often at AgingWithPizzazz about supplementing our diet. If you have wonderful genes and fantastic feeding routines, okay, ignore this. For me, and mine, supplements are an important safety net. I won’t explore them here, but there are many alternatives that substitute for certain pharmaceuticals for mild conditions. Not always as strong, but often effective.

Synthetic statins are an illustration of pharmaceuticals that can be important in prevention, but with more side-effects than some reliable alternative supplements (which are not simply generic versions). Such examples abound and are easy to search out and worth considering if you are still on the borderline or in preventative stages of a condition.

This website has information on many alternative supplements. However, if you want to consider what to purchase for yourself for basic nutrients, see Supplements – Schlup-plements! Are you Resistive to Buying Supplements?

As we age, very few of us can avoid wrinkles.
If anyone asks you the best solution for wrinkles?
The answer is ‘iron.’

Laughter

The mental health companion we all need is a good laugh. This was first brought to my attention decades ago, when studying psychoneuroimmunology (a big word for a little thought that our body and minds are connected). Norman Cousins made laugher-as- medicine famous when he promoted it as his treatment for ankylosing spondylitis, which I would maintain notwithstanding the power of a belly romp, needs more than laugher. Nevertheless, whether you practice ‘laugh yoga’ (yes, a real thing) or take Cousins’ advice to get 10 minutes of a good belly laugh (which he said brought him 2 hours of pain-free sleep), we NEED to laugh. (Just ask Mary Poppins’s Uncle Albert.)

A guy went into a vitamin shoppe looking for a supplement
to increase energy….
The sales rep tells him about B vitamins, saying,
“You got your B-12, your B-6,
have you taken these vitamins previously “?
The customer asked, “You mean like B-4”?

(…some small laughs help as well)

Final Thought

I wrote a book, now out-of-print, with a subtitle addressing my final thought – “a Smorgasbord of Options for Everyday Wellness and Superior Longevity.” There – just – aren’t – any – magic – bullets.

There’s no ONE key, but I think there is a combination lock. Meaning, there are a host of options, many listed above, to explore your own quality longevity as you age with pizzazz. And honest-to-goodness, that is NOT an April Fool’s joke.

Picture credit: Locked treasure box – Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

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The post Day to Reveal THE Key to Longevity appeared first on Aging with Pizzazz.

Originally Published on https://www.agingwithpizzazz.com/

I hit the Second 50 mark a while back, but have my sights on a different goal –much longer, quality living.

While I may have a ‘dr’ in front of my name, the credentials for this blog are the same as yours – I am on a journey to Age with Pizzazz, whether that is body, mind, spirit or just fun and learning.  It is important to me to share related information with others as well.

I currently live in Southern Oregon with my husband, Michael.  I have had the good fortune (well, usually good fortune) to have called several states my home: Vermont, New York (family home with various locations along the way), Massachusetts (a short stint), Georgia, West Virginia, Connecticut, Arizona and most recently (2014) Oregon.

I grew up in upstate New York to a financially-modest family and did most of my schooling there.  My undergraduate work was in education (music and special education).  I did post graduate work in music therapy (and became an RMT – Registered Music Therapist).  My master’s degree from The New School in New York was in Hospital and Health Care Administration – and also convinced me that along with wonderful advancements, much is wrong with our traditional American medical and health care system (at least at that point).  There was a year more of pre-med courses in the southeast and then a doctorate degree in chiropractic (an industry that also has its many up and down sides).

I often joke that I have had as many professions or jobs as I do fingers.  To live up to that claim, I will name some: waitress, low-level banker, music and special Ed teacher, music therapist, mental health professional, gig performer, real estate agent (for which I had a shot at being the worst ever), probation officer, chiropractor, author and consultant.

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