For the past 150 years, the average lifespan has increased steadily by approximately two and a half years every decade, and today a baby born anywhere in the world is likely to live longer than one born in 1870. The question is how do you live a longer and healthier life?
As long as these historical trends continue, we could see an increase in global life expectancy by another five years in the next two years, from 73 to 78, and from 79 to 85 in the United States – a remarkable achievement in itself! Thanks to technology and our ever-growing understanding of the human body. Some experts believe that longevity could improve even faster than we think.
“90 could be the new 40” according to Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic; Author; Longevity Expert. “And Life Expectancy Could Increase Somewhere Between 25 and 35 Years in the Next Decade.” The longevity increases we’ve seen so far have been due mostly due to improvements in maternal health; Surgery; and Disease Management. Today, most doctors point to lifestyle changes we can make to improve our chances of living longer and healthier lives. Those fundamental aspects of life include things like exercise, sleeping well, managing stress, eating healthy foods, and having good relationships.
Technology plays an important role too. As we learn more about the aging process from a cellular level, we’re discovering new ways to help people lead longer, healthier lives. Dr. Oz has been promoting the benefits of turmeric for years now. David Perlmutter is studying what we might expect from new health innovations in the future.
“Not only would people have a better chance of living to be 100, but they’ll also live longer than ever before.” Perlmutter, who is a board-certified neurologist and author, who also serves on the board of directors and is a Fellow of ACN, says that seniors who live with Alzheimer’s disease will experience fewer cognitive issues in their later years.
Existing medicines, new drugs
It’s not unusual for innovators to develop a new product, technology, or idea only to later discover that the best application for that technology is something completely different from the original intended purpose. For example, bubble wrap was originally designed to be three-dimensional wallpaper. It took several years for its inventors to realize that it would be useful as a packaging material.
The same holds true for drugs and medicine. Rogaine was originally developed to help lower blood pressure. It also had the unintended side effects of increasing hair growth.
Recently, some drugs prescribed for different conditions have been found to be effective against aging. Two drugs in particular, which alter metabolic processes on a cellular level, show early promise.
Metformin is a drug used by over 120 million people to treat prediabetes or type two diabetes. According to early studies in animals and people, researchers think the drug might indirectly increase longevity.
Metformin lowers blood sugar after meals and lowers baseline blood glucose levels as well. It also improves insulin sensitivity, reduces oxidative damage, and protects your heart and blood vessels from disease.
Metformin has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, which may help people avoid common long-term health issues. High blood sugar levels are associated with fatty livers, the growth of cancerous cells, inflammation, heart diseases, strokes, and dementia, he says.
Rapamycin is one of the most talked-about medications that has been shown to be effective at slowing aging or extending lifespan. Doctors first used this drug in patients who had received transplanted organs to prevent their bodies from attacking the new tissue. Cancer patients also take it to slow cancer growth.
Rapamycin also has an effect on our cells. The drug modulates the immune system, which can have a beneficial effect when dealing with immune diseases but could also suppress the body’s protection when we’re at risk for an infection. One reason medical experts are wary of the more widespread use of Rapamycin is that it’s always important to talk to a doctor before taking any medications.
“Does rapamycin have any risks?” Roizan says It suppresses your immune system. Will it be beneficial over the long term? “My gut feeling is yes, however, we’ll know more in the future.” The potential for drugs like Rapamycin and Metformin is promising, particularly considering the possibility of isolating the age-reducing effect and understanding how they work However, as of now, most of the studies show the benefits of these compounds are in animal models. The emerging evidence is exciting, though we are not quite there just yet for clinical applications. Proper nutrition and exercise can have an enormous impact on insulin sensitivity.
“I think job one is keeping your blood sugar in an optimal range.” Dr. David Perlmutter says. “You’ll notice, I did not say in the normal range.” Lower areas like 85 to 90 percent. “Those are better than a 100 to 105,” says Perlmutter. “To avoid blood glucose spikes, you need to limit your intake of sugar and refined carbs, and eat more healthy fats.”
While the time when you can take an anti-aging pill has not arrived yet, the journey towards achieving that goal is already teaching us valuable lessons about aging and helping many lead healthier lives.
Healthy habits for living a longer and healthier life
The key to living longer is simple — create healthy habits that work best FOR YOU. If you want to live longer, make sure you do what works best for YOUR lifestyle. Here’s why…
1) Eat less processed food (and more whole foods). Processed foods are loaded with chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that aren’t good for your body. They also contain high amounts of calories and fat. In fact, according to Harvard University researchers, eating too much junk food increases your risk of early death by 20 percent!
2) Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation makes you feel tired all day long, and research shows that lack of sleep causes weight gain and impairs memory. Studies also show that people who get enough sleep tend to eat fewer calories.
3) Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity helps keep your metabolism up so you burn more calories throughout the day. Plus, it improves your mood, reduces stress levels, boosts energy, and strengthens muscles.
4) Avoid smoking. Smoking is highly addictive and contains nicotine, which is toxic to the lungs. Cigarettes cause cancer and heart disease.
5) Manage your stress. Chronic stress affects every organ in your body and raises cortisol levels, which leads to higher cholesterol and belly fat. Learn ways to manage stress here.
6) Drink alcohol moderately. Moderate drinking means no more than 2 drinks per day for women or 3 drinks per day for men. One drink equals 1 ounce of liquor, 12 ounces of wine, or 8 ounces of beer. Too much alcohol can damage your liver and increase your risk of breast cancer.
7) Be active. Physical activity is essential for overall health and longevity. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activities such as brisk walking each week, plus two strength-training
8) Maintain a positive attitude. Research shows that optimistic people enjoy better mental and physical health than pessimistic folks. So keep a positive outlook and watch those extra years fly by.
9) Don’t forget to laugh. Laughter releases endorphins, which boost your immune system and reduce pain. It’s also proven to help ward off depression.
10) Have fun. Make time for hobbies and socializing with friends. Having fun keeps your mind sharp and prevents you from getting bored.
Cold weather has a lot of benefits
We’re naturally not very fond of the cold. Recent research suggests that exposure to low temperatures can help slow down the aging process and increase longevity. Some forward-thinking optimists believe that we may be able to survive for long periods of time by preserving our bodies in extremely cold temperatures.
Dennis Kowalski, director of the US-based Cryonics Institute (CI) sees the cold as an opportunity for life-changing events. Cryonics is the process of freezing a human (or pet’s) body at death at an extremely cold temperature for preservation. As medical technology progresses, if a technique is found to reverse death, then those bodies could be “resurrected.” “A lot of people in longevity research are interested in cryonics,” says Kowalski. “It’s kind of like life insurance for all that because science is always going to advance.” It’s an expensive insurance plan and, as of now, it is a long shot. There are a number of medical and scientific advancements that must be made, some of them highly questionable even if they’re not delayed for an extended period of time. And the roughly $300,000 price tag makes it inaccessible for most people.##
But just because the Forever Young plot has remained firmly in the science fiction genre, for now, doesn’t necessarily mean that cold can’t be used to help us live longer.## Output Cold exposure and hydrotherapy have shown real promise in treating a variety of conditions, including cancer, infections, stress, body composition, aging, and more.
One way that cold makes us feel better is by using our brown fat. Brown fat is a type of fat found in our bodies that helps regulate blood sugar levels, body composition, and overall energy levels. Our bodies activate brown fat when we’re exposed to colder temperatures. Even after we’ve stopped being exposed to cold temperatures, our bodies can continue to benefit from brown fat.
Coldwater stimulations (CWS) have also been shown to help reduce the frequency of infections; improve our lung health; and aid with anxiety, which is one of the biggest causes of chronic diseases and aging.
While we may not all have access to a cold lake nearby, we can easily lower our shower or bath temperatures to a point where our bodies are forced to adapt. You’ll notice the shifts through things like shivering, sweating, and changes in your breathing. It then becomes a mental challenge to keep breathing deeply and pushing through the discomfort.
Cold exposure isn’t always fun or easy, but studies have shown your body improves quickly in response to the chill, so your shivering will decrease and your breathing will settle down over time. Besides the physical benefits you’ll gain from doing CrossFit, you’ll develop a strong mind and body
Getting back to the basic fundamentals
Health care is about improving life expectancy from one perspective.
Every patient who receives accurate treatment, every new drug that proves effective, every vaccine, every new piece of technology that helps doctors, all these things contribute to better health for more people. Every breakthrough doesn’t necessarily need to be headline-worthy, but it’s inspiring to see progress when we can take a moment to recognize it.
And those who push the envelope when it comes aging may not create the breakthrough they anticipated, but at least they inspire new ideas or could create something that’s later used in a new and unexpected way. Cryonics might not be able to preserve bodies, but it may have implications for another area of health.
It’s not clear whether we can really increase our maximum lifespan, a measure distinct from longevity. Maximum lifespan refers to an estimate of the oldest age a person could theoretically live to. Over the past 50 to 60 years, there has been no clear trend in longevity. The oldest living people ranged from about 115 to 120 years old. It’s still a mystery whether the human body can live longer than that.
But what we do understand is that with good health habits, our society can move people higher up the spectrum, so that every new baby born has a greater chance at a full and happy life. “The cumulative effects of our lifestyles can alter our genes,” says Dr. Yu. “The future is bright when it comes to improving our global life expectancies.” There are exciting, hopeful technologies that could help us live longer and healthier lives.