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January 14, 2010 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Designing a lifestyle to maximize life expectancy. What would this look like?

Veg or Nonveg? Mediterranean diet, or Okinawan? Urban or Rural? Religious or Agnostic? Bicycle or Car? Professional or Blue-Collar? High Income or Moderate income? Large family or small? Meditation? Team Sports? Elk's Club?

Preferably with some academic research, if you can find it.
posted by leotrotsky to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
Walk a few miles each day.. I know few people over 100 and that seems to be a common thread.
posted by cowmix at 5:52 PM on January 14, 2010


The highest correlation between life expectancy and something else is flossing. I hear that people who floss their teeth tend to live longer.

However, this is only correlation, and definitely not in any way causation.
posted by chicago2penn at 5:57 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


http://www.sens.org/
posted by dfriedman at 5:58 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adopt a CRON lifestyle.
posted by torquemaniac at 5:59 PM on January 14, 2010


Here's another CRON link.
posted by torquemaniac at 6:04 PM on January 14, 2010


If you seriously want maximum life expectancy (immortality), you should lobby/persuade other people to want it too, to get the science done that will be required. Use your skills (business, art?) and your passion to get people really excited about not being murdered by nature. Look at it this way: at least 10x more money is spent on military research than on longevity research, due to political pressures making people afraid. If you can convince people to fight the real enemy (the old age diseases that will kill over 50% of us) and not get as worked up about people in the Middle East (who have killed not even 1/10th of a percent of us), then we could invest in the research needed to really understand and defeat death.
posted by sninctown at 6:08 PM on January 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+ (video) TED talk.
posted by cdmwebs at 6:31 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thirding calorie restriction.
posted by dfan at 6:48 PM on January 14, 2010


Recent science doesn't support the theory that calorie restriction extends human lives.

Low stress, light daily aerobic exercise, and eat like the Japanese (who live the longest).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:05 PM on January 14, 2010


You might want to read up on Ray Kurzweil.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:46 PM on January 14, 2010


Yes, CRON. I've been doing it since the 80's ever since I read the original book by Walford (though I don't do it for longevity benefits, but for health benefits - basically I can't avoid becoming old, but don't want to be old and sick). Warning: it's not an easy diet to follow, and also not an easy diet to implement and figure out. But Calorie Restriction is the only scientifically proven method to retard the aging process in animals (never proven for humans, for obvious reasons). Read http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-120-Year-Diet-Double/dp/1568581572, then go from there. Nothing - and I mean nothing - comes close to the effect of CRON - no supplements, no exercise program, no drugs, no meditation, no prayer, no other diet, period, end of story. If you are serious, this is it. If you can't hack it, then there's a thousand vastly inferior solutions, and good luck choosing among them. Are there downsides? Yes, there can be. But it's all pretty academic as only about one person in 1000 can last on it... are you that person? What are the odds? Good luck!
posted by VikingSword at 7:49 PM on January 14, 2010


Oops, that link should be: Beyond the 120 Year Diet : How to Double Your Vital Years by Roy Walford.
posted by VikingSword at 7:51 PM on January 14, 2010


Designing a lifestyle to maximize life expectancy. What would this look like?

I know someone who did something like this, eat right, exercised, was very out going and active while trying to live as long and as well as possible. Cancer still got her at 54. Her sister, who is obese and leads a more sedentary life style and has the Tybe II diabetes to go with it just turned 60 and shows no sign of slowing down.

The 54 year old embraced life and lived well. She didn't live forever or as long as she should, IMO, but she lived and loved well, get it? It isn't about how long you live, but rather what you do with the time you have.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 PM on January 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


You should do barbell squats.

Conclusion: A low thigh circumference seems to be associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease or premature death. The adverse effects of small thighs might be related to too little muscle mass in the region
posted by ludwig_van at 8:04 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Married, with children.

No, really. This group tends to have much longer life expectancies than single people and those who are married without children. In Japan, single men die on average 15 years before married men!

Here is a link to a story about it (from CBS, so maybe not so academic) but I just finished taking a class on Sociology of Families and I read similar findings in our 2009 text book.

Not sure if that's what you meant by "lifestyle", but there you have it.
posted by too bad you're not me at 9:09 PM on January 14, 2010


"It isn't about how long you live, but rather what you do with the time you have."

Why can't it be about both?

I suggest donating to SENS and reading www.imminst.org forums. It is a forum full of nerds tweaking this and that in their diet/exercise/supplement regimes in order to live as long as possible. The opinion on the "healthiest" living has changed throughout its existence, but that's a good thing because it reflects research, both their own and others'. It takes a while to get a hang of the place, if you want to know more message me.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 10:14 PM on January 14, 2010


Become rich: +3 years
Quit smoking: +10 years
Drink moderately and/or exercise: +11 years
Quit smoking, drink moderately, exercise, and eat fruits & vegetables: +14 years
Move out of Africa: +30 years
posted by ChasFile at 10:52 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why can't it be about both?

It can, but that's not what the original poster asked, they were focused strictly on living as long as possible. My comment was meant as reminder to live as weel as possible. It was also meant as reminder that genetic dispositions, coincidence and fate can mess with whatever life plan you have, hence the importance, IMO, on living well as opposed to living as long as you can.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 AM on January 15, 2010


Bicycle or car? This depends where you live. Cycling provides exercise (good) but has an increased risk of death in an accident (bad - but depends on how busy the roads are, whether there are cycle lanes, etc.). Additionally, in a city, it might expose you to more exhaust gasses from cars, perhaps increasing your risk of respiratory problems. The questions reminds me of a short video by Prof. David Spiegelhalter (Professor Risk) about whether it is worthwhile to make particular lifestyle changes to extend our lives.


qxntpqbbbqxl, the article you link to is a description of a paper in Ageing Research Reviews. In discussing humans, it examines 3 data points: "normal male" in Japan (consumes 2300 kcal/day, lives 76.7 years), "Sumo wrestler" (consumes 5500 kcal/day, lives 56 years), "Okinawans" (who have a "17% reduction in calorific intake compared to the rest of Japan" so eat about 2300*0.83=1909 kcal/day, live 77.5 years). These are plotted on a graph, joined by two straight lines, and extrapolation shows that with "a caloric intake of 1500 kcal per day, the best possible mean human lifespans obtainable from caloric restriction are 81.9 and 78.3 years, respectively". Hence, it is concluded that calorific restriction would only cause a small increase in longevity.

Of course, there are some problems with this. Sumo wrestlers are not just "normal" men who eat more: they have a very different lifestyle. How does calorie restriction interact with other factors in influencing longevity? And linearly interpolating between just 3 points is always dodgy.

To answer their title (`Why dietary restriction substantially increases longevity in animal models but won’t in humans'), the authors point out that humans (like all primates) invest a relatively small proportion of their calorific intake to reproduction. The proposed relationship between energy investment in reproduction, and increase in longevity caused by calorie restriction seems plausible, but more evidence would be nice: there are graphs to show energy investment for five species (mouse, rat, baboon, chimp, human) but only CR/longevity data for two (mouse, human).

The study did not examine specific molecular or physiological mechanisms, nor describe any experiments on humans. More research on humans is needed. At the moment, the evidence seems to suggest that calorie restriction probably does extend human lives, but by an unknown amount.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 4:30 AM on January 15, 2010


Seek medical advice whenever you appear to be suffering from any kind of health problem, as quickly as possible.
posted by Kirn at 6:45 AM on January 15, 2010


Get yourself born to long livers. Having parents or grandparents who are long-lived correlates to a long life for yourself. In other words, you can do things that increase your chances of living longer (without disability), but there are some aspects of this you can't control.

BTW, my grandmother who just turned 100 walks every day. And has a glass of bourbon before bed (you can take the girl out of Kentucky, but you can't take Kentucky out of the girl : )
posted by eleslie at 7:51 AM on January 15, 2010


Seeking medical advice for every ill often leads to unncessary procedures, which can shorten life span. This is particularly true when undergoing medical screenings that involve exposure to radiation, which has a direct link to an elevated cancer risk. Being prudent about exposing yourself to the resistant strains found in hospitals and doctor's offices is wise.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:40 AM on January 15, 2010


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