How to Reach Age 99: 100 Essential Habits

How to Reach Age 99: 100 Essential Habits

July 16th, 2008

 Are you competitive? Maybe you just want to beat the odds of the average
lifespan for most Americans? The average lifespan of an American born today is
between 77.5 to 80.0 years of age, so you would live almost a full quarter
century past this average if you make it to age 99. The first step you might
want to take is to move to Australia, where life expectancy is, on average, age
81. Or, you might examine the life of Jeanne Calment, a French woman who
reached the longest confirmed lifespan in history at 122 years and 164 days. We
did discover that all the habits that would contribute to a long life don’t take
a fortune, so you don’t need to be rich.

No matter what you do, you must know that the odds of living to age 99 are
against you. While living to experience age 99 isn’t an easy task, it can be
done. One huge factor that can decrease your chances dramatically is heart
disease. So, our focus is on that issue. But, your risk for heart disease can be
reduced drastically with small measures, and the majority of habits listed here
coul help you realize your old-age potential. The reason the ‘tips’ listed below
are called ‘habits’ is because they are life-changing skills that must be
repeated throughout your life to realize the possibility of reaching that age 99
goal.

Of course, there are some things you can’t change. Your age, your gender,
your ethnicity and your heredity will have a bearing on whether or not your odds
of reaching old age are for or against you. But, even though you can’t change
these factors, your ability to live a longer life could increase if you change
some current habits, such as smoking, overeating and lack of exercise.

To that end, the ideas listed below will provide you with useful and credible
links for more information. Although these links are numbered, they are not
listed by value.

Your
Heart
| Ethnicity
& Heredity
| Blood
Pressure
| Cholesterol
| Diabetes
| Altering
Habits
| Diet
| Exercise
| Emotional
Aspects
| Aging

Your Heart

In previous generations, accidents, poor sanitation and childhood diseases
were the big three that contributed to a shorter life span. Today, a full third
of all Americans will cut their life short with heart disease. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 696,947 people died
of heart disease in 2002, and fifty-one percent of those deaths included women.
The total equaled twenty-nine percent of all U.S. deaths. If you want to live to
age 99, your heart’s health is an important ingredient in meeting your goal. The
habits listed below, therefore, can help you take the first steps toward your
goal:

  1. Learn
    more
    : This link will take you to the American Heart Association, where you
    can continue to learn about heart disease as long as you live. Basically,
    diseases of the heart an circulatory system are called cardiovascular disease,
    or CVD. CVD comes in two main forms: heart disease (CHD) and stroke. A heart
    attack occurs when an individual develops a blockage in one of the arteries
    supplying blood to his or her heart. A stroke is the result of a blockage in one
    of the arteries to the brain. In either case, the story is the same. Lack of
    blood stops the heart or brain from working so the body shuts down. CVD is the
    number one cause of death in America.
  2. Learn the
    symptoms
    : Almost a full half of cardiac deaths occur before emergency
    services or transport to a hospital. When you learn the symptoms of heart
    disease, you may prevent a fatal occurrence. If you feel that you fit any of the
    profiles listed on this link to WebMD, then contact your physician immediately
    for more information, no matter your age.
  3. Ethnicity
    matters
    : Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Native Americans,
    Alaska Natives, African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasian individuals. But,
    this picture is general, as scientists have found over the past few decades that
    some groups of people seem to be spiking in heart disease. The other factors to
    consider include income level, physical activity, eating habits and more.
  4. Heredity
    matters as well
    : In a study concluded in 2007, a team at Johns Hopkins
    University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health found that,
    regardless of age or lifestyle factors, if any sibling, brother or sister
    suffers a heart attack or chest pain from blocked arteries, the chances of any
    healthy brothers developing similar problems rises within ten years by twenty
    percent. If your siblings, parents or grandparents have a history of heart
    disease, don’t ignore the possibility that you inherited their problems.
  5. Check
    your blood pressure
    : Of the 50 million Americans who have high blood
    pressure (the leading contributor to heart disease) thirty-five percent don’t
    know they have it. High blood pressure is easily detectable and
    usually controllable
    . An inexpensive blood pressure cuff and gauge,
    available at most drug stores, can be used regularly to monitor your blood
    pressure.
  6. Control your
    ‘bad’ cholesterol
    : It’s proven that the higher your blood cholesterol level,
    the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
    Studies among people with heart disease have shown that lowering high blood
    cholesterol can reduce the risk of dying of heart disease, having a nonfatal
    heart attack, and needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty. Studies among
    people without heart disease have shown that lowering high blood cholesterol and
    high blood pressure can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
  7. Avoid or control
    diabetes
    : More than sixty-five percent of people with diabetes die from
    heart disease or stroke. With diabetes, heart attacks occur earlier in life and
    often result in death. By managing diabetes, high blood pressure and
    cholesterol, people with diabetes can reduce their risk.
  8. Avoid
    or quit smoking
    : Cigarette smoking accounts for about one-fifth of all
    deaths from heart disease in the United States. Smokers have a two- to fourfold
    increase in coronary artery disease and about a 70 percent higher death rate
    from coronary artery disease than do nonsmokers. Quitting smoking can reduce the
    risk of heart attack and stroke, as former smokers have the same risk levels as
    nonsmokers after five to fifteen years.
  9. Increase
    physical activity
    : Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 1.9 million
    premature deaths worldwide annually, and a lack of exercise or physical activity
    contributes to an increase in heart disease, Type II diabetes, cancer, high
    blood pressure, obesity and premature aging.
  10. Maintain
    a healthy weight
    : This link will take you to the Texas Heart Institute,
    where you’ll learn that obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. When
    you consider that one out of every three Americans are “obese,” you may realize
    that the numbers of Americans who will die from heart disease will increase
    drastically from the 2002 numbers listed previously. Lose weight, so you won’t
    become a statistic at an early age.

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Ethnicity &
Heredity

More and more health sites have focused on ethnicity and heredity as factors
in longevity. Although you cannot control these factors, your ability to live a
longer life can increase if you develop a habit around learning about your risk
factors. The following links will lead you to more information so that you can
begin to try to live a longer life. Much more study is anticipated in this
arena, so it might help to stay abreast of any news. Much can change in the next
99 years…

  1. Lose inherited bad
    habits
    : According to Rowe and Kahn, authors of Successful Aging,
    genetics count only for thirty percent of an individual’s ability to achieve
    longevity. Sometimes, the habits that individuals “inherit” are the culprits
    behind a short lifespan. “People tend to live and eat the same as their
    relatives.”
  2. Know
    your cancer risks
    : African Americans are 50 percent more likely to develop
    esophageal cancer than whites. Most esophageal cancers in African Americans are
    the squamous cell type. In contrast, adenocarcinomas are the most common form of
    esophageal cancer in whites. These ethnic differences might be attributed to
    interaction between genetic and lifestyle factors, such as genetic
    susceptibility to carcinogens and ethnic variations in exposure to certain
    pollutants.
  3. Learn more about cancer:
    Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asians and Pacific Islanders accounting
    for 26.1 percent of all deaths. But, while cancer may be selective in some
    cases, but it can strike anyone. Learn more about all types of cancer and about
    your risks at this link to the American Cancer Society.
  4. You
    can inherit high blood pressure
    : You have a higher risk of high blood
    pressure if you have a family history of the disease. High blood pressure also
    is more common in African Americans than in Caucasians. Take advantage of the
    tips listed below to learn more about how to manage this deterrent to longevity.
  5. Learn about familial
    hypercholesterolemia
    : Your genes influence how high your LDL (”bad”)
    cholesterol is by affecting how fast LDL is made and removed from the blood. One
    specific form of inherited high cholesterol that affects 1 in 500 people is
    familial hypercholesterolemia, which often leads to early heart disease. But
    even if you do not have a specific genetic form of high cholesterol, genes play
    a role in influencing your LDL-cholesterol level, no matter your ethnicity.
  6. Understand
    diabetes risks
    : Some ethnic groups, particularly African Americans, Native
    Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans, have higher risk
    factors for diabetes. But, if you don’t belong to any of these ethnic groups,
    don’t act smug just yet – if you have a parent or sibling who has diabetes – no
    matter your ethnicity – your risk level just went up as well.
  7. Learn
    more about your ancestry
    : Many people know very little about their
    grandparents or great-grandparents. Yet, these individuals may hold the key to
    your longevity. Begin to learn more about how to research your ancestry at RootsWeb or through Cyndi’s
    List
    – two other sites that hold valuable information.
  8. Test
    your DNA
    : Prices on DNA self-testing have fallen dramatically since this
    concept was introduced several years ago. While DNA testing is fairly accurate,
    be aware that some tests are erroneous. But, some tests are very accurate, so be
    prepared to learn that you may not be who you thought you were. DNA testing can
    cut through traditional family oral histories like a knife and reveal genetic
    secrets that may have been hidden for generations.
  9. Look
    for risk factors
    : This link will take you to a story about a certain drug
    used to treat epilepsy that is distributed in Canada. It seems this drug may
    create an increased risk of serious skin reactions for patients of Asian
    descent. This is the type of news that can help you to avoid health risks, but
    only if you know your ethnicity and heritage.

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Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer,” as the symptoms are
invisible. The only way to survive high blood pressure problems is to test
yourself regularly and to change your habits to fit those listed below:

  1. Learn about this silent
    killer
    : High blood pressure that goes undetected or isn’t properly
    controlled can lead to heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke or
    premature death. Yet, high blood pressure often goes undetected as it shows very
    few symptoms. Learn more, otherwise this ’silent killer’ may thwart your ‘live
    to 99′ goal.
  2. Learn
    about risk factors
    : If you have kidney disease, are obese, inactive or if
    you drink alcohol frequently, you might want to check your blood pressure on a
    regular basis. Diabetics and women who take oral contraceptives also need to be
    aware of their risks for high blood pressure.
  3. Learn how to take your
    own blood pressure
    : The information contained at this link will help you get
    started with self-monitoring at home.
  4. Learn about healthy
    blood pressure rates
    : Now that you know how to take your own blood pressure,
    you can compare your blood pressure rates among other people in your age group
    with these charts.
  5. Learn about
    hypertension
    : Hypertension is the term that doctors use to describe high
    blood pressure. Some factors are easily controlled, while other factors – like
    heredity and ethnicity – can’t be changed. But, awareness of these factors can
    alert you to maintain vigilance on checking your blood pressure.
  6. Learn which
    medicines to take
    : Some doctors may put you on medicine to help regulate
    your blood pressure if you have hypertension or prehypertension (warning signs
    of high blood pressure). Be aware that you may not be able to take some
    medications, and that you may not be able to mix other prescription or
    over-the-counter meds with your blood pressure pills. Once you begin to take
    medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it for the rest of your
    life. So, ask your doctor about a trial period first to see how you might react.
  7. Lose
    weight
    : Although some folks find it difficult to lose weight, a matter of
    just ten pounds can decrease your risk for high blood pressure. But, crash diets
    don’t cut the cake. Learn how to lose weight safely through this link.
  8. Watch your sodium
    intake
    : Even if you aren’t overweight and if your blood pressure is normal,
    you can decrease your chances of developing hypertension if you watch your
    sodium intake (frozen food often is a culprit) and use spices on your food
    instead.
  9. Say hi to the Dash
    Diet
    : This diet was created specifically for people who suffer from
    hypertension. This plan, which is endorsed by the American Heart Association and
    the National Institutes of Health, has been proven to lower blood pressure in
    just two weeks through an increase in fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat
    dairy foods to help keep your blood pressure happy.
  10. Limit alcohol
    intake
    : Studies have shown that moderate drinking can raise levels of “good
    cholesterol,” which helps prevent harmful blood clots and helps keep blood
    flowing smoothly through our bodies, reducing risks of heart attack and stroke.
    But, anything over a glass or two daily can create problems for some
    individuals. It can interfere with medications, add calories and increase blood
    pressure.

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Cholesterol

High cholesterol is another silent killer. Learn more how to manage this
disease, which you can reverse once you’ve been diagnosed.

  1. Learn about
    cholesterol
    : All humans have cholesterol. But, some cholesterol is ‘good,’
    and some is ‘bad.’ Learn about the difference so you can live longer.
  2. Learn
    about symptoms
    : Surprise. There’s not much to learn here, because – like
    high blood pressure – high cholesterol shows no symptoms. Like blood pressure,
    you can learn about your cholesterol levels through routine testing. Unlike
    blood pressure, this test something that you cannot do at home yourself.
  3. Get
    the most out of your tests
    : If you’ve never been tested for high
    cholesterol, it might be best to obtain a complete lipid profile. This test can
    perform a base for future tests. The best time to have this series of tests done
    is when you’re healthy (wait a few weeks after any illness). But, if that’s not
    possible, do it anyway so that you’ll have something to work with in the future.
  4. Test
    your body fat
    : Although this test will not provide the precise information
    that a lipid test will offer, you can bet your cookies that this self-test will
    let you know if your weight is a factor in possible cholesterol problems. This
    link, by the way, will take you to the Cholesterol Network, a
    great resource designed to prevent and reduce high cholesterol.
  5. Learn
    what cholesterol levels mean
    : This concise list will provide all the
    information you’ll need to know about how to decrease your “bad” cholesterol.
  6. Meet the NCEP: The
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) launched the
    National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) in November 1985. The goal of the
    NCEP is to contribute to reducing illness and death from coronary heart disease
    (CHD) in the United States by reducing the percent of Americans with high blood
    cholesterol. If you seriously want to increase your longevity, you will visit
    this site.
  7. Avoid
    medication when possible
    : Cholesterol-lowering medicine often contains
    statins, which have side effects that can include intestinal problems, liver
    damage and muscle soreness for some people. Instead of jumping on the medicine
    bandwagon, work with your physician to try a remedy of diet and exercise for six
    months to a year first. If that doesn’t lower your cholesterol levels, then talk
    with your doctor about the possibility of symptoms before you take any
    medication. Or, talk with your doctor about other alternatives.
  8. Link
    health issues together
    : If you have high blood pressure, then you may have
    high cholesterol as well. A 2006 study suggested that high total cholesterol may
    also contribute to the development of high blood pressure in men.
  9. Women should watch HDL
    levels
    : In one study, at total cholesterol levels above 200, women with HDL
    levels below 50 had a higher death rate than those with levels above 50,
    regardless of their LDL cholesterol levels. Testing, diet, exercise and a
    doctor’s advice can help women overcome this problem.
  10. Learn
    your fats
    : Not all fats are ‘bad,’ and you need some fat in your diet to
    maintain a well-lubricated circulatory system. Read about the ‘good’ fats that
    will help you live to age 99.

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Diabetes

The incident of diabetes, especially Type II, is on the rise. You can measure
how well you’re doing with your goal to reach age 99 if you haven’t developed
this disease, as Type II diabetes is the result of doing everything you can do
to shorten your lifespan. Read on…

  1. Learn
    about diabetes
    : This simple tutorial on diabetes explains Type I and Type II
    diabetes. The latter type usually occurs in adults over 35 years old, but can
    affect anyone, including children. The National Institutes of Health state that
    95 percent of all diabetes cases are Type II, which is triggered by obesity, a
    lack of exercise, increased age and to some degree, genetic predisposition.
  2. Learn your risk: Take this
    simple test to see if you’re at risk for diabetes. Even if your risk factors are
    low, you’ll learn that some factors like age, race, and family history of
    diabetes cannot be changed. In this case, there are things you can do to avoid
    developing full-blown diabetes.
  3. Learn the symptoms: The
    American Diabetes Association states that diabetes often goes undiagnosed
    because the symptoms seem harmless. But, if you’re aware of the symptoms (and
    there are seven of them), then you can decrease your chances of developing
    complications from this disease.
  4. Scare yourself
    silly
    : If the symptoms above aren’t enough to motivate you to prevent
    diabetes, learn more about how this disease can affect you. You can lose your
    eyesight, lose entire limbs, your kidneys can fail (yes, we’re talking dialysis)
    and it causes almost a full half of all fatal heart attacks.
  5. Learn about
    tests
    : If you develop any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor to
    schedule a test for diabetes. You can learn about all the tests at this link.
  6. Test at home: In
    2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the first over-the-counter
    test that measures glycated hemoglobin in people with diabetes to help monitor
    how well they are managing their disease (glycemic control). Now, individuals
    can obtain test kits without a prescription. These kits provide immediate
    results of blood sugar levels, but the person who uses home testing must
    understand what
    the test reveals
    .
  7. Exercise,
    no matter what
    : Results from a 19 year international study with 3,708
    patients with Type II diabetes, men and women, 25-to-74 years old, has shown
    that increasing physical activity reduced the risk of death for men and women of
    all ages, smokers and nonsmokers alike, regardless of body mass index, blood
    pressure or cholesterol level.
  8. Create a healthy
    diet plan
    : For most diabetics, a ’special’ diabetic diet means eating in
    moderation, at regular times, and choosing a diet that emphasizes vegetables,
    fruits and whole grains.
  9. Go
    ahead, dine out
    : The American Diabetes Association provides some simple
    guidelines to eating out at restaurants for those who need to watch their
    diabetes (or for anyone who wants to make healthy food choices).
  10. Lose weight:
    Even people who have prediabetes (people at risk of developing full-blown
    diabetes) and who are obese can stop the progression of this disease if they
    lose weight. The healthy diet plans outlined in the links above will help anyone
    lose weight if he or she normally doesn’t eat a healthy diet.

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Altering Habits

Changing a lifestyle is not easy, and new habits sometimes are difficult to
learn. But, the following habits can help you reach that age 99 goal with some
degree of fun, excitement and ease.

  1. Sell
    yourself on lifestyle changes
    : Some dietary (or physical) changes may need
    to be conducted immediately, especially if you discover that you have
    dangerously high blood pressure or prediabetes. Otherwise, you may need to sell
    yourself on lifestyle changes to avoid life-shortening problems down the road.
    This article will give you a leg up on making those moves.
  2. Find
    help
    : The Helpguide.org site linked here is just one of many sites that can
    provide valuable information on various diseases and healthier living. The
    mission mission for this site is to empower you and your loved ones to
    understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges in mental health,
    relationships, lifestyle and aging.
  3. Find support: While this
    link points to a ‘weight loss buddy’ site, you can find other sites that have
    forums or other means to contact people who may share your goal of making it to
    age 99. These sites may include those that focus only on people who have high
    blood pressure, or on those who are living with cancer. When you’re making
    lifestyle changes, it’s always easier to reach your goals when you’re not alone.
  4. Set
    goals
    : One of the factors for successful eating changes is to set a goal
    first. If you need to lose weight, then determine how much weight you want to
    lose. If you want to cut sugar or salt intake, then learn about the foods you’ll
    need to eliminate from your diet. Small goals, or ‘one step at a time’ goals
    will help you feel more successful and more willing to tackle the next goal.
  5. Make
    healthier choices one step at a time
    : For instance, if you’re making a trip
    to the grocery store, then plan ahead, eat before you shop, and shop around the
    perimeter of the store where the healthiest foods are located. This is just one
    step in the path to creating a healthier lifestyle.
  6. Keep a journal: This link is
    to just one of many sources online where you can keep track of what you eat.
    Other journals might help you to keep track of what you eat as well as your
    exercise routine. No matter what you use, journals can help you keep track of
    small successes and setbacks. If you keep a journal, you can learn more about
    yourself and why you succeeded in one instance and failed in another.
  7. Laugh
    more
    : Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases
    muscle flexion, and boosts immune function. Some research suggests that laughter
    may also reduce the risk of heart disease. If you surf to the link attached to
    this tip, you’ll learn that laughter does much, much more – and the results are
    all positive. If you’re planning to live a long time, then you might want to
    laugh – and laugh often.
  8. Reward
    yourself
    : It’s a good idea to reward yourself for your lifestyle changes,
    but, don’t do it with food. Instead, take yourself to a movie or spend time
    relaxing in a hot bath. Read a book, visit friends or do whatever it takes to
    feel like you’ve just patted yourself on the back. If you don’t know how to
    reward yourself, you might learn – after all, you’re going to live until you’re
    age 99, right? Long time to go without some sort of self-indulgence!

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Diet

If you’ve read through this list to this point, then you know that good
nutrition is a cornerstone to a healthy life. And, a healthy life can be a
longer life. The following habits will help you reach this goal.

  1. Avoid fruit
    juices
    : Unless you own a juicer, it’s best if you avoid fruit juice. Many
    brand juices contain up to ten teaspoons of sugar per cup. The exception is some
    organic or natural juice products that contain only juice. This is especially
    true for children. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children who
    drink too much juice can become obese, develop cavities, diarrhea and other
    gastrointestinal problems such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
  2. Eat
    more fresh fruit
    : Canned fruits often contain sugary syrup and dried fruits
    often are high in calories. Fresh, or even frozen, fruit is a much better
    choice. Eat a variety of fruits to get the full impact of their healthy
    contributions.
  3. Avoid
    fried foods
    : Fried vegetables are not as good as raw, baked, steamed,
    grilled or broiled vegetables, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re
    eating healthy when you eat fried brocolli. Fried foods, depending upon the oil
    used for frying, can cause obesity and cancer.
  4. Eat whole grain foods: Just
    because a bread package contains the words, “stone-ground, multi-grain or 100%
    wheat or bran,” this does not mean that the product is whole grain. Look for the
    words, “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat.”
  5. Switch to healthy oils: Choose
    vegetable oils such as olive, canola or peanut oils, avocados, fatty fish such
    as salmon, nuts and seeds to build up your ‘good’ cholesterol.
  6. Avoid
    red meat
    : Red meat does contain immense amounts of protein, but eating a lot
    of red meat may increase your risk for colon cancer. Also, red meat contains
    unhealthy fats. If you eat red meat daily, a switch to other forms of protein
    can improve your cholesterol levels dramatically. Finally, a new study conducted
    in the UK indicates that a high level of red meat consumption is an independent
    risk factor for inflammatory arthritis.
  7. Eat alternative
    protein
    : You might be surprised at all the choices you have to obtain
    protein. Choose black beans, navy beans, garbanzos and lentils. Or try nuts like
    almonds, walnuts and pecans for your protein. Soy products, such as tofu, also
    provide all the protein you might need on a daily basis. But, avoid salted or
    sugary nuts and refried beans, as salt, sugar and fried foods don’t add to a
    healthy bottom line.
  8. Choose
    healthy animal protein
    : Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish can reduce your risks
    of heart disease. Other meats that can help in that regard are chicken, turkey
    and eggs. At all times, choose lean white meat, egg whites, fatty fish such as
    mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, canned light tuna and wild salmon.
  9. Limit
    sodium to 2,300 mg per day
    : This is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt. Look
    for hidden sources of salt in canned soups, frozen meals and other package
    foods. The more salt you consume, the higher your risk for high blood pressure
    problems.
  10. Avoid fish high in
    mercury
    : Those choices include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and
    albacore tuna. This is especially true if you’re a heavy fish eater. Reduce your
    consumption to about once per week. It has been shown that mercury levels from
    fish eating can be reduced, but it usually takes about six months.
  11. Drink more
    water
    : But only if you drink less than eight cups (not glasses) of water per
    day. You may need to drink more water if you’re physically active, pregnant or
    breastfeeding, live in a warmer climate, or have certain health problems. Heavy
    people may also need more water to stay hydrated.
  12. Learn how to read food
    labels
    : Don’t trust food companies to keep you living to age 99. You will
    need to take responsibility to learn how to read labels and to understand which
    ingredients will harm you and which ones will keep you healthy.

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Exercise

You’ve heard it one-thousand times, right? Lack of exercise will shorten your
life, make you feel horrible and prevent you from enjoying life to its fullest.
But, you don’t need to develop the habits of a professional weight lifter.
Instead, the following habits will help you stay healthy without hurting your
body or your attitude.

  1. Get
    medical clearance
    [PDF]: If you haven’t exercised in a long time or if
    you’re in poor health, you’ll need to get your physician’s approval for any type
    of physical activity. Additionally, if you intend to use an exercise center or a
    gym, they may include a permission form in your membership papers. This link
    goes to a form used by the O’Connor Recreation Center (Johns Hopkins), and it’s
    a fairly standard form designed to protect you and the center from any possible
    injury and lawsuits, respectively.
  2. Start slow: Exercise
    will tax your heart and it also will raise your blood pressure for a short
    period of time, so starting out slow is the key. Plus, when you start slowly,
    you can help to avoid possible injury or strain from pushing yourself too hard
    and too fast.
  3. You can gain results without
    pain
    : In fact, exercise shouldn’t be painful. Granted, if you haven’t moved
    a muscle for a while, you might experience some pain for a day or so after a
    workout, but the “no pain, no gain” theory is a myth. If you do experience pain
    while exercising, it might be a warning sign that you’re injured – so stop and
    check out the source of your pain before you go any further.
  4. Avoid
    sitting for long periods of time
    : By definition, sitting in a chair all day
    is against Mother Nature, and you know what happens when you go against her…This
    is just one way to tell you to get up and move. This article, however, will
    provide you with numerous other reasons to avoid sitting for a long period of
    time.
  5. Move,
    move, move
    : This article provides you with 25 ideas that will help you get
    started with moving more, or with ideas that will supplement your regular
    exercise program. Short ten-minute bursts of movement during the day can add up,
    and these activities will move you to do more!
  6. Find
    an enjoyable activity
    : It’s harder to make an activity more enjoyable than
    it is to enter into an activity that you already enjoy. If you’ve always loved
    dancing, or if swimming turns you on, or if walking across the country like
    Forest Gump has always been your ideal way to fit in some aerobic exercise, then
    do it. Your willingness to keep moving will increase tremendously if you
    approach your exercise with enjoyment.
  7. Use exercise to quit
    smoking
    : According to a recent UK study, even light exercise can help
    smokers quit smoking. So, when you get a craving, get up and take a five-minute
    walk. Not only will you burn calories, but you’ll reduce cravings and withdrawal
    symptoms.
  8. Get
    good shoes
    : There’s really no need to splurge on special exercise clothing
    unless you plan on a gym romance. But, do get a good pair of exercise shoes. A
    good pair of shoes can help you to avoid pain and injuries that could be
    avoidable. Outfit states that a good rule of thumb is to replace those shoes
    every 300-500 miles (as in walking, etc.) or every three months if you exercise
    as recommended below.
  9. DIY home gym: Speaking
    of gyms, you can create your own at home. This project not only will save you
    tons of money on that sexy exercise clothing (you can exercise in your pajamas
    or in much less) and the cost of a gym membership, but it may increase the value
    of your home if you’re a home owner. A home gym will be there every day, too,
    taunting you to get up and move. Since you don’t need to trek down the street or
    to the next neighborhood to visit the local gym, you’ll also save money on gas.
  10. Enjoy the benefits:
    Exercise, even moderate and light exercise, will improve your mood and your sex
    life. Beyond this, exercise will strengthen you and your heart and lungs and can
    help you live a long, long time.

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Emotional Aspects

Why are you planning to live to age 99? If you’re planning to live a long
life to enjoy all that life has to offer, then you’ll learn at some point that
joy often is balanced with pain. If you live long enough, you’ll experience the
deaths of loved ones, accidents, injuries, illnesses and more unpleasant
experiences. Your attitude and ability to roll with these emotional punches
often will determine your longevity as well as the quality of your life. The
following links will help you get through trying times.

  1. Know
    the signs of depression
    : We all have moods that are less than pleasant, and
    this is normal. But, when a low mood persists, and it interferes with your
    ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun, it’s no longer normal. You’re
    now dealing with depression. Learn the signs and symptoms of depression and how
    this emotional problem can affect people at different ages.
  2. Improve
    your outlook
    : Although it’s wise to get professional help when you’re
    depressed, this link leads to an article that lists several ways you can help
    improve your perspective on life, even if you’re just feeling low.
  3. Help others:
    Nothing will help you feel better than to get outside yourself and focus on
    others’ needs. Look for volunteer opportunities, help an elderly neighbor or
    offer a free babysitting service to a young couple who cannot afford a sitter
    for a little time alone. All these little gestures will provide you with some
    space so you can get away from your issues as well.
  4. Don’t
    carry grudges
    : Although 99 years is a long time to live, life is too short
    to hold onto a grudge. Smoldering over a real or imagined slight or injury can
    prevent you from feeling peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Life is filled with
    enough pain, so stop inflicting it on yourself by learning how to forgive.
  5. Learn how to
    cope with grief
    : Grief is the feelings you experience when faced with loss.
    Although the loss of loved ones can bring the deepest and most long-lasting
    grief, other incidents can engender the same feelings. Rejection by a loved one,
    illness that causes you to miss out on activities that you enjoy, or other
    missed opportunities all can bring on a period of grieving. Learn how to cope
    with loss through articles like the one linked to this tip.
  6. Learn
    the stages of grief
    : There are five stages of grief, and each stage is well
    defined. If you understand that grief often arrives on the heels of a sudden
    tragedy (death, the knowledge of a fatal illness, etc.), the ability to draw on
    information like this may help you cope with your losses.
  7. Try alternative healing:
    Traditional western medicine often deals with emotional issues separate from
    physical problems. Alternative therapies often include the whole person –
    physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This link will steer you to CAM, or a
    group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that
    are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. This page
    succinctly explains complimentary, alternative and integrative techniques that
    can help heal the whole person, rather than a part of the whole.
  8. Learn how to meditate: This site
    is run by a person who prefers to use the term, “conscious relaxation,” in place
    of the word, “meditation.” This skill can help you learn how to relax, to take
    time to reflect on things you want to change in your life, and to create a space
    where you can slow down and feel some peace. You can’t keep going
    ninety-to-nothing for 99 years, after all…
  9. Get
    into creative therapy
    : You can’t work for 99 years, and we doubt you would
    want to keep working all you life. Art therapy provides one way to enjoy
    creative skills while turning your anger and pain into something beautiful. If
    you’re not into art, try therapeutic/creative writing
    instead. The point is to stretch yourself so that you can be the best person you
    can be during this lifetime.
  10. Don’t discount nutrition
    and physical activity
    : If you’ve neglected your diet and ignored your
    exercise routine while feeling low, or if you never have taken care of yourself,
    you may be surprised to discover that nutrition and exercise can affect your
    frame of mind. Learn more about how to balance your boy so you’re ready to take
    on all life has to offer.

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Aging

Did you think that you would stay 29 forever? Getting to age 99 will take
some work. Aging in itself is a process that requires constant physical,
emotional, mental and spiritual adjustments. The better you take care of your
body, the more chances you have of dealing with the aging process. But, it never
hurts to be prepared; so the following links will help you develop some habits
now that will help you deal with aging later.

  1. Woman and aging: Women have
    special aging problems when they encounter menopause. Learn more now about this
    stage of life so that you’ll know what to expect. This knowledge can help you
    live longer as you deal with issues that affect your physical and emotional
    health.
  2. Men and aging:
    Men may experience problems with erectile dysfunction (ED), and many times this
    problem is a symptom of a disease such as diabetes. In addition, many common
    medicines used to regulate blood pressure, allergies, depression, stress and
    ulcers can produce ED as a side effect. No matter the cause, ED can serve as a
    warning sign that something is physically or emotionally out of whack. While ED
    may not be thrilling, its presence can save your life.
  3. Develop
    healthy sexual habits
    : Good sex can prompt the release of substances that
    bolster the immune system. Plus, it releases endorphins that act as painkillers
    and reduce anxiety. It benefits the heart and lungs by increasing breathing and
    circulation and it helps us to relax and feel good about ourselves. So, don’t
    let aging hold you back. Unfortunately, diseases like diabetes and heart disease
    can cut your life – and your sex life – short. So, stay healthy, and learn more
    about healthy sex habits now so that you can enjoy sex as long as you live.
  4. Remain active, especially
    after age 50
    : Regular exercise will help protect you from chronic disease,
    improve your mood and lower your chances of injury. The older you are, the more
    you have to gain from exercise. All it takes is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
    You even can take your exercise in three ten-minute sessions on weekdays with
    weekends off!
  5. Exercise
    for your brain
    : Two studies released in 2004 showed that regular exercise,
    including walking at an easy pace, seems to protect the aging brain from erosion
    in thinking ability — and even from Alzheimer’s. If you want to remember living
    to age 99, then get up and move!
  6. Check
    your ears
    : Hearing loss is not prevalent, but it does become an issue with
    aging. Between 25 and 40 percent of the population aged 60 and older is hearing
    impaired. Learn more about different types of hearing loss and how to cope with
    this disability now.
  7. Check
    your thyroid
    : Approximately 25 percent of the elderly population suffers
    from some form of mental illness. A significant number of these cases may be
    related to thyroid disease. And, many times this condition goes undetected. So,
    make it a habit now, no matter your age, to ask your physician about thyroid
    issues.
  8. Check your
    eyesight
    : This habit begins before you can make your own eye appointments.
    And, an eye care professional should see your baby blues (or browns, or greens)
    at least every two years. The reason for this is that many health issues can be
    diagnosed through eye problems. Learn more and be diligent, as a loss of
    eyesight would be a huge loss, especially when many sight problems can be
    rectified if caught early.
  9. Keep
    track of sleeping patterns
    : Sometimes, sleeplessness will not affect your
    daily living. In this case, perhaps you have entered the “I need less sleep
    during this time of my life” zone. If lack of sleep is interfering with your
    memory, your ability to maintain concentration or with your daily life, then you
    have issues. Disturbed sleep, waking up tired every day, and other symptoms of
    insomnia are not a normal part of aging. Instead, poor sleep habits and
    conditions such as untreated sleep disorders, medications, or medical problems
    can accumulate and compound to result in sleeplessness. Learn more about healthy
    and unhealthy sleep patterns and what you can do to get a good night’s rest.
  10. Challenge your brain:
    No matter your age, you can begin this habit now and carry it with you to the
    next life. Mental exercises can strengthen and enhance cognitive functions over
    time. This link will take you to a page that contains exercises for your brain
    that you can use even without a computer!
  11. Learn
    about Alzheimer’s disease
    : Even if you don’t develop this disease, if you
    live long enough you may know someone who will. This link provides a checklist
    to help you recognize the difference between normal age-related memory changes
    and possible warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding this disease
    may not help you live longer, but you may relax when you learn that it’s normal
    to experience some memory issues no matter your age.

 

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