The Other I

August 16, 2011

And the greatest of these…

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 1:24 pm

Often  – though, of course not always – we get the old age we deserve.  Smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, far more often than not, come home to roost if we live long enough for the chickens to come home.

When I was young, old age felt like a land of let’s pretend, a place where I would never need to be.  I was, after all, young and fit and energetic.  I haven’t met a young person who doesn’t to some extent feel the same way.  And I think that’s the way it ought to be.  Sort of like the way we all feel that, whatever happens to anybody else, we aren’t really going to die.

But we don’t need research to tell us that if we are lucky, there isn’t any alternative to growing old.  The alternative looks decidedly unlucky.

Modern research does tell us, though, a lot of things we can do both to maximize our chances of living longer, and in my opinion, perhaps even more importantly, living healthier for those longer years.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that once again, there’s a clear winner.  Give up smoking, use alcohol in moderation, eat a healthy diet, keep one’s weight down.

But the greatest, most effective strategy, even outflanking nutrition and weight, is exercise.

The latest research studying almost half a million people in Taiwan suggests that as little as 15 minutes of brisk exercise a day adds an average of three years to ones life span.   Every additional 15 minutes per day seems to increase the benefits.

I haven’t tried to figure out at just what point more exercise ceases to produce any further advantages.  My bottom line is 30 minutes a day.  After that, I’ve decided to take what comes.

Unless some other convincing source of research suggests…  No, if it says I’ll live forever, I won’t believe it anyway.



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