Maintaining the good life in later years!

Living well as we age.

TIME magazine published a double-issue in February of this year How To Live Longer Better!

The article, on Page 47, opens:

Old age demands to be taken very seriously – and it usually gets its way!

Then later on in that same article one reads:

Exactly how much – or how little – exercise it takes to begin paying dividends has been one of the happy surprises of longevity research. A 2016 study found that elderly people who exercised for just 15 minutes a day, at an intensity level of a brisk walk, had a 22% lower risk of early death compared to people who did not exercise.

Then two sentences later:

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada even found that breaking a sweat for just 60 seconds may be long enough to improve health and fitness (as long as it’s a tough workout).

As part of Jean’s commitment to slowing down the progression of her Parkinson’s Disease (PD) she attends every Monday and Wednesday a special class at our local Club Northwest in Grants Pass. The class runs for 90 minutes and is a boxing class! The instructor, Mark Whiting, is a boxing coach and the class, called the Rock Steady class, is specifically for PD sufferers. One of the exercises involves rapid punching of a punch bag.

Dr. Laurie Mischley of SIM had a telephone consultation with Jean a few days ago. It was Dr. M following up Jean’s consultation with Dr. Nutt in Portland on the 10th that I wrote about in my post Jeannie’s PD Journey.  Dr. M commented as to how well Jean was doing.

Possibly, vigorous exercise seems to be offering something that many in their elder years may not have cottoned on to.

Readers may recall Patrice Ayme leaving a comment in my recent Facing up to PD post:

The one and only countermeasure we have is violent neurological activity. As in powerlifting. This has been indicated by research published in 2018… But it was long obvious. So the way to “comfort” is the discomfort of maximum motor-neurological… hmmm… violence. Too much local gentleness doesn’t optimize overall comfort and gentleness… I guess that’s one of my overall philosophical messages… Not one popular with the PC crowd…

Now I’m still trying to get to bottom of this link between vigorous exercise and long-term health and have reached out to McMaster University in Canada seeking academic backing for the link.

More from me as I learn more.

Turning to diet.

In that same TIME magazine, on page 53, there is a single page listing five places around the world known as Blue Zones.

Global life expectancy averages out to 71.4 years. That means. of course, that some parts of the world see much shorter spans, while others enjoy far greater longevity.

Five places, in particular, fall into the latter category. They’re know as Blue Zones – named for the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map – and they’re home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solution, told TIME why residents of these places live so long – and how you can steal their habits

Those five places are listed below with me republishing just a small extract regarding diet from four of those five place descriptions.

Sardinia, Italy – “A largely plant-based diet ….”

Okinawa, Japan – No mention of diet.

Nicoya, Costa Rica – “The Costa Rican people traditionally get the majority of their caloric intake from beans, squash and corn, plus tropical fruits. This plant-forward, nutrient-dense diet ……”

Loma Linda, Calif., USA – “Adventists live 10 years longer than their fellow Americans. Many avoid meat and eat plenty of plants, whole grains and nuts.”

Ikaria, Greece – ” …. and a strict adherence to the Mediterranean diet – eating lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, potatoes and olive oil – propels 1 in 3 ikarians to live into their 90s, often free of dementia and chronic disease.”`

I will return to this topic!

Meanwhile, stay fit and healthy!

25 thoughts on “Maintaining the good life in later years!

  1. Good one, Paul! I think ‘use it, or lose it’ is the first law of the body. You did a super job of covering all the bases of aging in a healthy way and keeping one’s mind and body intact. I’m 78 and writing this from Las Vegas where I am vacationing with my girlfriend. I subscribe to everything you have put out here. My best wishes to you and Jean as she battles her Parkinson’s.

  2. Good one Paul, great to see the showcase of wonderful information.
    “Health is our true wealth.” A Chinese saying

    Tail wags,
    Deborah Taylor-French

    PS. I sent emails on Red Sky at Night: Dog Leader Mysteries’ publication (May 26) and am wondering if you received them.

  3. It’s amazing how much our diet contributes to our health. I’m sure there is more that can be researched to help us live a long and healthy life. Interesting read and sorry that Jean has to battle with this condition. She sounds like a true fighter!

    1. It’s a very big market segment, elderly consumers that is, and thank goodness! Because it is a powerful reason for companies in many sectors to spend many dollars on R&D. Thanks for your kind wishes for Jean.

  4. This is very interesting Paul. I can fill in the Okinawan diet… The traditional diet was mostly plant based with the most prevalent vegetable consumed at most meals being purple sweet potatoes (which are a traditional Asian sweet potato and delicious). Unfortunately, that diet is now being replaced with one that encompasses more fish and dairy as Okinawan people have become wealthier.

    As for the exercise… That is most interesting. I find that is I have any aches and pains, moving is the best way to get rid of them. I get a really good workout when we travel through locks on the canals. We did a flight of 23 double locks in 4 hrs yesterday. That was four hours of fast walking the two miles, lots of winding up stiff paddles and pushing and pulling heavy gates weighing many tons. It is a great workout in the fresh air and really does seem to sharpen the mind a bit!

    I’ll be interested in your further research on this. 😊

    1. Colette, Thank you for a wonderful reply. I still haven’t heard back from McMasters University but will chase them next week if nothing still not in. Plus, more generally I am asking around those who might be able to direct me to academic research papers on the role of vigorous exercise. For sure, when I have more it will be shared with you here!

      1. How is Jean finding the Boxing class? Certainly, that is an interesting method to coordinate the whole body…any sort of defence requires the brain to be alert and ready to respond. I imagine that Jean would be tired but at the same time, invigorated by the boxing sessions. 👏

      2. I am going to write about what Jean is doing but holding until I can find the scientific evidence of the link between vigorous exercise and body/mind health.

  5. Totally agree with the fresh veggie and fruit diet and I know speaking from a winter of not getting much exercise sitting,knitting and on the lap top , to a Spring and Summer FULL of exercise away from the laptop and keeping fit in the garden and walking. MUCH improved! in Mind Body and Spirit..
    Keep it up Jean…. Sending well wishes my friend.. ❤

    1. Jean and I have received a book written by one of those McMaster researchers and I will review it in this place once I have read it. First impressions are good though in terms of the importance of vigorous exercise.

      1. Yes, since my hubby who has had problems with his knees this last year has been watering the garden for two hours back and forth with two watering cans, carrying a total of 60 gallons of water each and every morning for approximately 6 weeks.. He noticed his knees are not giving him as much pain.. I told him the movement of his knees is helping ease his joint.. 🙂 I know you bike ride Paul so get leg muscle exercise… 🙂
        Take care and enjoy the book.

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