" I am aging. Let's not deny that we are aging. Let's deal with it, accept it, and use it."
The blog I read first every day is Ronni Bennett's blog Time Goes By – what it's really like to get older. I have interviewed Ronni on my podcast and I am a part of the community of elders that she has created. You may have noticed that I have a proud ElderBlogger"" badge in the right hand column of my blog. I got the badge from Ronni.
Recently Ronni did a blog post suggesting that we have a discussion - virtual, online, chapter by chapter of Dr. Robert N. Butler's book,The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life. I responded enthusiastically. A couple of days ago she posted her discussion of the introduction to The Longevity Prescription. This post is my response to Ronni's posting, to the discussion in the comments on her blog, and to my reading of the introduction of The Longevity Prescription.
I really like and agree with the theme of the introduction.
"To a surprising degree, aging is a state of mind. People who take a preventive approach to their health tend to stay young."
The introduction includes a test with 25 questions that you answer on a scale of 1-3 to come up with your Longevity index. My score of 63 at least partly reflects that I tend to be an optimist. A longevity index of 63 is pretty good but according to Butler there are still some changes I can make to "help enhance its quality".
Butler challenges the reader (me) to come up with five things I can change to increase my chances of longevity.
- Lose weight. – My BMI is around 35 and it should be move like 25.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables – Sometimes I do sometimes I don't. It doesn't come naturally to me. My goal is to at least have two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day
- Walk at least a mile every day – Although I am fairly active it is easy for me to go for weeks with very little exercise.
- Start taking a daily multivitamin and low dose aspirin
- Watch my alcohol input – no more than 14 drinks per month. It would be very easy for Duke and I to share a bottle of wine every night. The calories alone make this a bad idea.
The Longevity Prescription is divided into 8 chapters each about a different prescription. Each prescription has strategies for achieving the prescription. I'll go into more detail about my thoughts for improving in each area and my questions about the validity of the prescriptions when we discuss that chapter.
One of the questions that I have been pondering since stating to read The Longevity Prescription is whether questioning the validity of a prescription is simply denial or is it reasonable to doubt some of these ideas. Doctor Butler documents the studies that have been done in each area The discussion in the Time Goes By blog comments has included several questions about whether it is really important to make new friends and to go out to socialize multiple times a week. Another question I wonder about is whether I really have to stop at one glass of wine a night? I do like my wine.
"The takeaway message? More than a little of your long-term health is very much up to you."
The goal is to "increase our chances of remaining healthy longer." what is referred to by Dr Butler as Compression of Morbidity. To to not only live longer but to be healthy longer.
I like the idea of living a long life but even more I like the idea of that life being a healthy, active and interesting. I think what I like most about The Longevity Prescription so far is that Dr Butler takes an upbeat positive approach. I learned something new about how I can improve the likelihood that my life will not only be longer but also better.
There is one thing missing from this post. I don't think I have really added anything new or elucidating to the discussion that has already occurred. I'll continue to participate in the on line book club discussion and pondering how best to contribute to the discussion.